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Dygert turns attention to track as USA finish outside the medals in Olympic time trial

Chloe Dygert (Team USA) in the time trial at the Tokyo Olympics
Chloe Dygert (Team USA) in the time trial at the Tokyo Olympics (Image credit: Getty Images)

American Chloe Dygert will turn her attention to the track cycling at the Tokyo Olympic Games after she and compatriot Amber Neben finished outside the medals in the individual time trial held at the Fuji International Speedway on Wednesday.

Dygert, who was part of the track team that won the silver medal in the Team Pursuit at 2016 Rio, will be racing in the event again with teammates Jennifer Valente, Megan Jastrab, Emma White and Lily Williams, where they are focused on securing a medal at the Izu Velodrome in Tokyo.

"Dygert still has her sights set on a medal in her third event of the Olympic Games - the Team Pursuit," said USA Cycling in a press release. Dygert did not speak to the media in the mixed zone following her time trial in Tokyo.

Neben and Dygert were among the list of favourites for the women’s 22.1km individual time trial but finished in fifth and seventh, respectively, behind gold medal winner Annemiek van Vleuten (Netherlands).

“I'm a little bit disappointed. I rode hard. I left it all out there. I was really hoping to medal today. It's hard when you're close but not quite there. No regrets. No complaints about my effort. It was good for today," said Neben after the time trial.

The elite women’s field competed along a 22.1km time trial route that started with a downhill section and then a significant climb to the first intermediate check point, followed by a descent and an undulating terrain to the finish line at the speedway.

Neben is a three-time Olympian and former two-time world title holder in the time trial discipline, and recently finished second to Dygert at the USA Pro Road Championships in June. She was named to Team USA as a selection for the time trial only and said she did everything she could to try and win a medal for her nation.

“I wasn't wearing a radio, so I didn't know where I was. I was honestly just riding as hard as I could and leaving it out there. I just wanted to make sure I finished, and I didn't have anything that I regretted and that I didn't have anything that I wish I would have done differently," Neben said. 

"I was just putting it all out there. I went hard to the top [of the mid-race climb]. I knew that was a big check, and then I knew I was going to have to hang on a little bit on the downhill, then hit it again hard on the track. That was my strategy, and I did what I could today."

Van Vleuten, who was the sixth last rider off the starting ramp, set the fastest time at both the 9.7-kilometre and 15-kilometre time splits, and had a winning time of 30:13. She finished 56 seconds ahead of silver medallist Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) and 1:02 ahead of her Dutch compatriot Anna van der Breggen.

Australia’s Grace Brown finished in fourth place at 1:09 back with Neben in fifth at 1:13 back, Germany’s Lisa Brennauer in sixth at 1:57 and Dygert in seventh at 2:16.

OYAMA JAPAN JULY 28 Amber Neben of Team United States rides during the Womens Individual time trial on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Fuji International Speedway on July 28 2021 in Oyama Shizuoka Japan Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images

Amber Neben (Team USA) in  the time trial at the Tokyo Olympic Games (Image credit: Getty Images)

Dygert won the world title in the time trial at the 2019 World Championships in  Yorkshire, putting more than a minute and a half into Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten. However, during her title defense at the Worlds in Imola last year, she crashed 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, which made her one of the rider’s to watch in the time trial in Tokyo.

The time trial at the national championships was also the first race that Dygert entered with her new team Canyon-SRAM. 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.

Dygert was an automatic qualifier for these Olympic Games where she is competing in three events. She finished 31st in the road race on Sunday, seventh in the time  trial on Wednesday, and will next compete in the Team Pursuit on the track August 3.

Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the 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 cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.