What next for the cyclists involved in the traumatic women’s road race in Rio?

Should cycling put safety before excitement after Annamiek van Vleuten’s crash? Will the Olympic medalists dominate at the world championships? And what next for the unlucky professionals who failed to qualify for the Games?

By Suze Clemitson of 100 Tales 100 Tours, part of the Guardian Sport Network

When I speak to Rochelle Gilmore from a rain-sodden Rio, she’s just finished commentating on the Olympic men’s time trial for Australian TV. Gilmore is the owner and manager of the Wiggle High5 women’s cycling team that scored second, third and fourth in the women’s Olympic road race that was so horribly marred by Annamiek Van Vleuten’s sickening crash on the treacherous descent that left her hospitalised with three cracks in her spine and a severe concussion.

But first congratulations are due for her team’s display. “The feelings were just overwhelming. Obviously they’re all in their national team kits and racing with different objectives but it was a real demonstration of the strength of our team on the world stage,” she says. As a commentator, Gilmore had called home Emma Johansson, Elisa Longo Borghini and Mara Abbott - the classy American climber who had held the lead over the closing kilometres before being caught with metres to go. “We supported them for the Olympics, not just for the season” she says, “and it’s been challenging and demanding but the results have been just incredible.”

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