World champion Chloé Dygert Owen has renewed with Twenty20 Pro Cycling for 2018, her fifth season with the US women's program. The 20-year-old will compete in a full track program through the UCI Track World Championships and then move to the spring road calendar, according to a team press release.
Dygert Owen, who won both the junior road and time trial world championships in 2015, and then followed those rainbow jerseys in the elite division with team pursuit titles in 2016 and 2017 and an individual pursuit title this year. She was second in the team pursuit at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"I am excited for the season ahead with the track world championships, then I get to head to the road with Twenty20 Cycling," Dygert Owen said. "I believe I can take my track power and fitness and transition well to a strong road season."
The team emphasised Dygert Owen's "robust" road schedule for 2018, but her road endeavours will have to wait until she attacks several goals on the track, including earning another medal in the team pursuit and a world record in the individual pursuit. Sarah Hammer, the recently retired US rider who has been Dygert Owen's mentor on the track, is the current record holder at 3:22.269. Dygert Owen powered to a 3:22.920 earlier this year at the UCI Track World Championships in Hong Kong.
"Balance is critical for this young athlete as she continues to develop on both the road and track," said team General Manager Nicola Cranmer. "She sets a goal and accomplishes it. Ever since I've know her she had a clear vision of what she wanted; rainbow jerseys, a husband and a house, at age 20 she already has accomplished so much.
"I appreciate that she trusts our program to provide her with the platform to continue to hit her markers," Cranmer continued. "One of my goals for her is to see her win two medals in Tokyo [at the 2020 Olympic Games, ed.] We will do everything we can to support this effort. With the recent announcement of the US National Team Program with extended services and benefits for its athletes along with the well mapped out road season from her Twenty20 trade team, I have no doubt that she can accomplish this."
Dygert Owen will attend two USA Cycling track camps before competing in the UCI World Cup in Minsk, Belarus, January 19-21 and then the UCI Track World Champiosnhips in Apeldoorn, Netherlands, from February 28 to March 4.
Dygert Owen will open her road season in April in the US, with a focus on Amgen Tour of California in May.
"My goals for 2018 are big," Dygert Own said. "I want to go under 3:20 in the individual pursuit. I want to win the elite time trial world championships. These are not easy goals. I want to see what I can do on the road, as I am looking forward to a full road calendar this year.
"I am so grateful for the support," Dygert Owen said. "It's not something that is handed out, I have worked very hard to get where I am today, but all I have accomplished wouldn't be possible without a team like that behind you. I am very thankful for their belief in my ability."
Kristin Armstrong, Dygert Owen's former Twenty20 teammate and a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the elite time trial, said Dygert Owen's ambitious goals are well within reach.
"Just missing the podium at the World Championships in Bergen has left Chloé extremely motivated," Armstrong said. "She has remained very disciplined these last few months, and there is no doubt that she will accomplish every goal she sets in 2018. As a multi-discipline athlete, she has to set her vision and long-term goals but ultimately has to stay focused on the goal right in front of her and trust the process and her team to help her be prepared along the way. This is where the ability to have laser-focus comes into play.
"Chloé is a phenom in the sport. I feel so fortunate to be part of her performance team as we head towards Tokyo 2020, with some great racing and learning in the next two years," Armstrong said.