Ellen van Dijk Withdraws from Vuelta Femenina Stage 4 Due to Injury

In a turn of events that has affected the dynamics of the 2024 Vuelta Femenina, Dutch cyclist Ellen van Dijk has announced her withdrawal from the race starting from Stage 4. The decision comes after a persistent struggle with injuries sustained during a crash in the opening team time-trial.

A Promising Start Turned Sour

Van Dijk, a key rider for the Lidl-Trek team, played a crucial role in securing a narrow victory in the team time-trial on the first day of the race. However, the triumph was marred by a crash in the final corner, which saw Van Dijk and teammate Elynor Bäckstedt take a hard fall. Despite not breaking any bones, Van Dijk required stitches in her chin, and she also sustained injuries to her shoulder and knee.

Optimistically, the 37-year-old expressed hopes of a quick recovery to continue supporting her team. “Fortunately, there is nothing broken, I just needed some stitches in my chin. Hopefully, I recover as quickly as possible so I can give my hundred per cent for the girls this week,” she had stated earlier.

The Struggle to Continue

Despite her injuries, Van Dijk displayed remarkable resilience by completing the second and third stages of the race. Each day, however, brought its challenges, with the rider facing considerable pain and discomfort. Her participation was crucial for her team, especially in supporting Elisa Longo Borghini’s attempt to challenge Demi Vollering for the title in Spain.

Decision to Withdraw

Ultimately, the lingering effects of her injuries proved too much. “After I struggled a lot to get to the finish yesterday, we decided to give the body what it needs right now,” Van Dijk explained in a tweet, outlining the tough call to prioritise her health. Lidl-Trek also affirmed the decision, emphasising the importance of focusing on her long-term recovery with many goals still on the horizon.

Impact on the Team and Race

Van Dijk’s withdrawal is notably a setback for her teammate, Elisa Longo Borghini, who is a strong contender in the race. Van Dijk’s experience and strength were invaluable, and her absence will surely be felt in the team’s strategy moving forward.

Looking Ahead

As Van Dijk steps back to focus on recovery, the cycling community and fans will be eagerly awaiting her return to the sport. Known for her strength and determination, this setback is likely just another chapter in her storied career, which saw her return to professional cycling this March after becoming a mother last year.

Her team and supporters will no doubt be hoping for a swift and thorough recovery, looking forward to seeing Ellen van Dijk back on her bike, racing at the level that has made her one of the most respected riders in women’s cycling.