Van der Poel blames his crash on a change to the circuit: "I didn't know they would remove this ramp on raceday"
On the first lap Dutchman Mathieu van der Poel crashed in one of the highest technical areas of the circuit. Live we could already see something strange in the way Van der Poel dealt with that jump, now we know that it was caused by a last minute change.
A last-minute change to the circuit caused Van der Poel's crash
It was the highest jump of the entire circuit and while the first riders took off with their handlebars up, Van der Poel launched himself with the handlebars down, causing a hard crash that ended any chance of a medal for the Dutchman.
We now know that there was a wooden ramp on that jump to make the reception smoother during training. But that ramp was removed on race day, as it is in other races, and Van der Poel had not been aware of it.
This is how Van der Poel expressed his disappointment with his results at the Olympics on social media.
"People close to me know how hard I worked for this and how bad I wanted it. I could ride the track with my eyes closed but I didn't know they would remove this ramp on raceday."