Chloé Dygert has been diagnosed with the Epstein-Barr virus and will not compete in the remaining Spring Classics season as she recovers at home in Colorado Springs. Canyon-SRAM confirmed the diagnosis in the final line of a team press release ahead of the Classic Brugge-De Panne.
The diagnosis of Epstein-Barr marks a set back for the multi-time world champion and double Olympic medallist, who showed some early-season form during track training in Ghent. However, after returning to the USA in early March she became unwell.
"Her track block in Belgium was the best she has been in the last three years which was very promising with her data being the best it's ever been," said Gary Sutton, women's track endurance coach at USA Cycling, in a written response to Cyclingnews.
"During our testing on the Eddy Merckx velodrome [in February] she was in very good form and continued with a very heavy work load right up to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
"When returning to Colorado, Chloe wasn’t feeling 100 per cent in the first few training sessions and we thought it may have been the altitude. The medical team decided to do some testing then found out she had Epstein-Barr virus."
The diagnosis of Epstein-Barr comes on top of a long recovery from the horrendous and debilitating crash in the time trial at the 2020 Imola World Championships.
That crash resulted in an 80 per cent laceration to her left leg that nearly ended her career and required most of the 2021 season to recover.
Dygert underwent two additional and successful surgeries last fall and was preparing to compete in this season's Spring Classics campaign with Canyon-SRAM where she made her debut at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.
Her illness is another interruption to her road ambitions, with Omloop only being her second race with the team since signing a four-year contract with Canyon-SRAM that will take see her through 2024.
"Currently, she is in a good place handling this very well and I know she was expecting to be readying for Paris-Roubaix," said Sutton. "This certainly won’t happen now, as I believe she will be out or off the bike for at least another one or two months - but I’m not the doctor."
Dygert competed in a limited season last year, winning the individual time trial at the USA Cycling Professional Road Championships wearing the Canyon-SRAM banner, and she then represented Team USA at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where she was part of the team pursuit squad that secured a bronze medal.
With the support of Canyon-SRAM, she ended her season early to allow for a complete rehabilitation of her left leg. She also underwent two more successful surgeries last fall with an aim to remove excess scar tissue along the initial injury area and to fix cartilage and meniscus problems in her left knee.
Dygert has since joined Canyon-SRAM at their opening training camps this winter before coming 26th at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in February. She had goals of competing in select Spring Classics, and also targeting select stage races later in the summer.
Sutton confirmed to Cyclingnews that Dygert had also planned to compete in the new Track Nations Cup calendar, aiming to beat her own world record in the Individual Pursuit, and was also looking further ahead to compete at the Road World Championships in Australia.
Dygert’s training and racing plans have now been put on hold, for a yet to be determined timeframe, as she recovers from the Epstein-Barr virus.
"She went for another check up today, and we are just waiting for the results to come back," said Sutton. "Then Jim Miller [Chief of Sport Performance, USA Cycling] will make a decision on what approach will be made with her next block of training."
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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.