Caroline Buchanan was left "gutted" after her quest for back-to-back world BMX titles ended with a crash at the world championship in the Netherlands on Monday morning.
Buchanan started the meet with a silver medal in the time trial, but her hopes for another elite world title in racing were dashed with a crash in the final heat of the day.
Left battered and bruised, and potentially with a broken arm, there were doubts over whether Buchanan would be able to contest the quarter-final for which she had already qualified.
Unable to even carry her own bike to the start line, she defied the odds to win the race and proceed to the semi-final, but her injuries finally took their toll.
With a strapped wrist and arm, a shoulder injury and a badly swollen knee, Buchanan finished fifth in the semi-final, just short of qualifying for the final.
The Canberra racer’s arch rival, Mariana Pajon – who won gold at the London Olympic Games where Buchanan missed the medals after a disastrous start – went on to win the world championship, with American Alise Post second.
Buchanan’s injury comes at the start of a four-month overseas tour. She had her arm re-strapped for a flight to the US on Monday night, where she will have X-rays and recover.
A mountain bike event in Canada is next on her calendar, followed by her next BMX event, the World Cup in Argentina, which is just over five weeks away.
Last year’s runner-up, Australia's Lauren Reynolds, also fell just short of the final, finishing sixth in her semi-final.
It was better news for countryman Sam Willoughby, who won the elite men's supercross title less than 24 hours after being crowned time trial champion.
"It's pretty special for me to win this," an emotional Willoughby said, dedicating the win to the late mother of his girlfriend and fellow competitor Post.
"It's incredible, you train hard and set your goals, it's all realistic on paper but doing it is a whole different story."
Ten years ago to the day, Warwick Stevenson became the first Australian to be crowned elite world champion in the Netherlands.
"To come back 10 years later and do it in the same country is pretty cool, so I'm stoked," Willoughby added.