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Chloe Dygert to miss World Championships and ends season early to focus on 2022

Chloe Dygert (Canyon-SRAM)
Chloe Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) (Image credit: Canyon-SRAM Racing)

Chloe Dygert has called an early end to her first season with Canyon-SRAM and will not participate with Team USA in the upcoming UCI Road World Championships held in Belgium in late September. 

In a team statement, Canyon-SRAM confirmed that Dygert would end her season early as a result of her continuing rehabilitation from her left leg injury sustained in a crash at in the time trial at at Worlds in Imola last September. In addition, she will use the time to focus on the season ahead in 2022.

“In only my second ride back after the Olympics I had a lot of pain in my leg after 500m and after 30 minutes I turned around and went home,” said Dygert who represented Team USA in the road and time trial along with the Team Pursuit at the Tokyo Olympic Games, where she won a bronze medal.

“After this, I knew that I couldn’t train and prepare at my best for these next races. To race at 100 per cent and lose because you were beaten by someone faster or simply better, that’s one thing. To be on the start line at 80 per cent, and feeling like you’re letting yourself or your teammates down, that’s another.

“Now, it’s about the bigger picture. As hard and frustrating as it is, I have to say that next year, and the years after that are more important. I know we’re going in the right direction, it’s just a different path than what we thought. I’m grateful to my support team at USA Cycling, Red Bull and Canyon-SRAM Racing for their understanding.”

Dygert won the world title in the time trial at the 2019 World Championships in  Yorkshire. However, during her title defense at the Worlds in Imola last year, she crashed on a descent and underwent surgery to repair an 80 per cent laceration to her left quadriceps.

She won her first competition following a nine-month recovery in the time trial at the USA Cycling Pro Road Championships in Knoxville, Tennessee, in June. In Tokyo, she finished 31st in the road race, seventh in the time trial, and won the bronze medal as part of the squad racing in the Team Pursuit.

Dygert signed a four-year contract to race with Canyon-SRAM from 2021 through 2024, however, the time trial at the national championships was the first, and now only, race that Dygert has entered with the Women's WorldTeam. 

She sparked controversy with social media activity that appeared to support racist and transphobic sentiments last year and the team later hired consultant Christine Kalkschmid to start a Diversity and Inclusion programme along with a new development team that is designed to support these efforts.

After the Olympic Games, Dygert took a small break and planned to join Canyon-SRAM for the remaining race calendar in Europe before turning her attention to the  time trial at the  World Championships in Belgium.

Following some time off, however, Dygert said she felt pain in her leg when she returned to training, and her team made the decision to end her season early.

“We can see that Chloé is not yet ready to compete in four-hour road races on the Women’s WorldTour level week after week," said Canyon-SRAM Team Manager, Ronny Lauke. 

"However, she is a young, and very ambitious athlete who we are confident will have her best days coming. It’s a pity we’ll need to postpone her first race with the team until a later point until when she is ready, but after the heavy injury she had to deal with since her crash in Imola it requires further focus on rehabilitation. 

“Chloé’s journey and fight to come back in time to become national ITT champion and Olympic bronze medalist with her national team in the team pursuit prove what an excellent athlete Chloé is. We will support her to become 100 per cent healthy and when the time has come we will bring her back to racing. We are very much looking forward to that day."

Dygert will now take some weeks completely off the bike, and following this, a more detailed plan for her return to training and racing will be made, according to a team statement.

“Chloé was an integral part of the USA team at the Tokyo Olympics. Although she wasn’t at 100 per cent, her contribution to the team's success was vital. To have recovered to this level so quickly is itself a great achievement," said Gary Sutton, USA Women’s Track Endurance Cycling Coach.

"To take a step back right now to ultimately take a big step forward is sensible, and it's clear it’s the right thing to do physically and mentally for Chloé. Of course, we look forward to helping Chloé with her further recovery.”