Women’s team pursuit outlook may change after Aussie crash

The Australian women's team pursuit squad crashes while training Monday at the Rio Olympics, casting doubt on their odds for a medal.

RIO DE JANEIRO (VN) — A crash in training on Monday sent four of Australia’s five-woman team pursuit team to the ground and sent one rider, Melissa Hoskins, to the hospital.

Australia was one of five teams considered to be in with a shot at gold, along with Team GB, Canada, New Zealand, and reigning world champions, the United States. A hard crash, and the potential loss of one of its top riders, puts the Australian squad at a severe disadvantage — the fight for gold may now be down to four teams.

The crash came halfway through a practice session at race speed, days before the event’s qualifying rounds begin. Hoskins was removed from the velodrome on a backboard, a “precautionary measure,” according to Australian team staff, and was then to the hospital for further evaluation.

The crash began in corner three, leaving large gouges in the wooden track surface. Speed was high at the time of the crash, and the riders on the ground came to a stop nearly 30 meters farther around the track.

Amy Cure, Ashlee Ankuninoff, Georgia Baker, and Hoskins all crashed. Anette Edmondson, who was leading the quintet at the time, escaped unscathed.

Cure and Ankuninoff suffered friction burns and bruises, and could be seen cooling down on rollers covered in bandages and ice bags. Cure had a large ice pack on her left hip, and Ankudinoff had a large ice pack and a web of bandages on her left shoulder.

Team pursuit qualification rounds begin Thursday.