A Dutch mountain biker took a terrifying fall at the Olympics after a practice ramp was removed for the race

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A Dutch mountain biker took a terrifying fall at the Olympics after a practice ramp was removed for the race
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Dutch cyclist Mathieu Van der Poel falls during race at Tokyo 2020.
Dutch cyclist Mathieu Van der Poel. JASPER JACOBS/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images
  • Mathieu van der Poel had a horrific crash during a mountain-bike race at the Olympics.

  • Van der Poel said after the race that he'd expected a ramp that had been in place during practice.

  • Van der Poel's coach and teammate said they had discussed the ramp's removal with him.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Dutch cyclist Mathieu Van der Poel suffered a scary crash during the men's mountain-bike event at Tokyo 2020 on Monday.

During the first lap of the race, Van der Poel tumbled into the rocks at one of the most difficult drops on the course, losing his spot among the leaders.

Van der Poel attempted to get back on his bike and chase down the lead. But he eventually pulled out of the competition and had X-rays taken at a nearby hospital, Cyclingnews reported.

Looking at his fall, it's not surprising that he would need a check-up.

After the event, Van der Poel blamed his fall on a ramp that had been on the course for practice runs but was removed for the medal race.

"People close to me know how hard I worked for this and how bad I wanted it," Van der Poel wrote in a post to his Instagram story. "I could ride the track with my eyes closed, but I didn't know they would remove this ramp on race day."

Watching his fall with this in mind, it looks clear that Van der Poel believed the ramp would be there.

Rather than jump into the gap, as the other riders did, Van der Poel dips his nose into the bank as if he's expecting some ground to be there to catch him.

It wasn't, and he and his bike were sent tumbling.

According to Van der Poel's coach, the Dutchman should have been aware that the ramp would not be present during the race, as they had discussed the change earlier in the day.

"In training, there was a bridge to prevent falls. That is normal, just like it is normal for them to remove it before the race," national coach Gerben de Knegt told Dutch media, VeloNews reported. "We've discussed this a dozen times at the time, so Mathieu knew that."

Van der Poel is a phenomenal cyclist, excelling across disciplines - he held the yellow jersey for a portion of this year's Tour de France - but at the Olympics, one mistake cost him a shot at gold.

Still, Van der Poel held his head high after the race.

"I don't know what to say, but I'll be back," he wrote on Instagram.

Van der Poel wasn't the only Dutch cyclist to suffer heartbreak at the Olympics this year.

At Sunday's road race, Annemiek van Vleuten crossed the finish line believing she had won gold, only to realize later that Austrian Anna Kiesenhofer had already sealed the victory.

Both Van der Poel and Van Vleuten were favored to win their respective events. Here's to hoping they have better luck when the Olympics come back around for Paris 2024.

Read the original article on Insider