The winner of the individual pursuit world title on the first Thursday of the UCI’s cycling world championship in Glasgow, Chloé Dygert, collected a second gold medal overnight. Here is a gallery of the elite women’s time trial – the second event of the multi-discipline worlds won by the American superstar…
Photos by Stefano Sirotti
There are many things that make the second victory by Chloé Dygert at this year’s worlds special. Key amongst them is the reality that the 26-year-old came close to losing her leg after crashing out of the equivalent event – the elite women’s time trial – of the world championships in 2020.
“For me this is one of the greatest comebacks from injury and sickness of all time,” says Dygert’s coach, Gary Sutton about the stunning win by the versatile American who beat Grace Brown by just 5.67 seconds.
To appreciate how significant Dygert’s win is, it is worth considering the impact of the crash she had in the TT of the 2020 championships which were held in Imola in September 2020.
“She was within one centimetre of losing her leg,” adds Sutton, trying to highlight the severity of the injury sustained as she slid over a guardrail on the side of the road after losing control of her bike on a fast downhill section. At the time of the crash, she was on track to successfully defend her TT title.
As a 21-year-old upstart on the road in 2019, Dygert won her first senior world championship on the road relegating the dominant Dutch duo of Anna van der Bergen and Annemiek van Vleuten to the minor medals. It heralded the American’s arrival as a force in road cycling… but a year later, her career was essentially over – only that she refused to concede.
Thankfully – luckily – Dygert didn’t lose her leg because of the crash but she required numerous surgeries to allow her to keep her limb. The images are too gory to publish, and the long explanations of what doctors had to do to save her leg are painful to just listen to. And this is what adds to Sutton’s admiration of the remarkably determined athlete who, in 2023, is back in the winner’s circle.
“The general public only know half the story,” an emotional Sutton told RIDE Media shortly after the TT win in Stirling overnight. “This young lady is amazing.”
The coach has promised to shed more light on the accomplishments by Dygert when he returns to Australia in the coming weeks. He has agreed to an interview and he is eager to explain more about all the challenges faced by the young rider who has been one of several stars from USA Cycling in the 2023 championships in Scotland. (Stay tuned for more in the coming days.)
“Also I must mention the performance of Jenn,” Sutton added when asked for comment about Dygert’s performance in the TT. He was, of course, talking about Jennifer Valente – winner of the omnium and scratch race on the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome this week.
“She is the most modest person you would ever meet. She became the most decorated USA cyclist being on the podium 20 times at the world championships. To work with these athletes has been an honour.”
The afterglow of the TT win lingers and sport fans around the world will surely be watching with interest to see what comes next from Dygert, Valente and the rest of Team USA. There is still a road race to be run and won, and chances are we’ll see more of the stars-and-stripes when the road cycling program in Scotland concludes on Sunday. For now, scroll down the page to see more photos from the time trial by Stefano Sirotti.
– By Rob Arnold
Results from the elite women’s time trial (10 August 2023)
86 riders from 54 nations!
Scroll down the start list of the women’s TT and you’ll see numerous flags that are rarely seen in elite cycling competition, including Nigeria, Uganda, Burkina Faso, Laos, North Macedonia, Mauritius, Bermuda… etc. It is, in fact, one of the most cosmopolitan start lists you will find for a bike race.
Of course, there was a strong presence by the usual suspects but the usual pre-race favourites didn’t have things go all their way in Scotland.
The recent winner of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift, Demi Vollering, had a good ride but was well off the pace set by Dygert and Brown. Time trial wizard Marlon Reusser from Switzerland is represented by a DNF after riding in a halt and quitting out of what appeared to be frustration. And Britain’s ever-consistent Anna Henderson just missed out on a podium place, finishing two seconds behind the Austrian bronze medallist Christina Schweinberger.
In total, 54 nations were represented and it is yet another reminder of the UCI’s ongoing quest for globalisation of cycling.