Chloé Dygert in typical time trial stance
Photo reporter Sirotti Stefano / imago images / Sirotti
Defending champion Chloé Dygert got off the road at the start of the Road World Championships and fell over a guardrail at high speed.
In the meantime, the 23-year-old American had clearly led on the 31.7-kilometer Imola circuit and then lost control of her bike in a curve.
The later published pictures showed severe injuries to Dygert's left knee.
"She is conscious and speaks," wrote the US association on Twitter.
This is all that is known so far.
At first there was no more precise information about the health of the top favorite.
Dygert was cared for by several emergency services in the ditch on the curve and then taken to an ambulance on a stretcher.
In the finish area of the Imola Formula 1 racetrack and at the award ceremony that followed, the mood was correspondingly subdued.
After her fall, Dygert could not be seen in the TV picture for minutes, the international signal from then on only showed the active riders.
Rescue workers take care of Dygert after her serious fall
MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP
"The worst that can happen is a fall like this. I'm very sorry for you, it's really bad," said Anna van der Breggen, who won the race.
The first time trial world championship title for the Dutch woman and the medal for ex-world champion Lisa Brennauer from Germany, which was only 14 seconds away, became a minor matter in the "Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari".
"There was still a brief disappointment, I wanted so much to win a medal, especially when you are so close," said Brennauer.
The rivals had initially not noticed the defending champion's serious fall.
The road cycling world championship began on Thursday with the women's individual time trial.
All four races up to Sunday start and finish on the racetrack, where a Formula 1 race will be held again at the beginning of November.
The World Cup should actually have taken place in Aigle and Martigny in Switzerland, but the event was initially canceled due to the corona crisis and then relocated to another location at short notice.
Icon: The mirror
ngo / dpa