Chloé Dygert bounces back to win first world title since horror crash

'The journey has been very tough,' says American in Glasgow

Chloe Dygert with an american flag
(Image credit: Getty)

US track cyclist Chloé Dygert claimed her first rainbow jersey on Thursday evening since she lacerated her leg in a crash in 2020. 

The 26-year-old took victory in the individual pursuit at the Track World Championships in Glasgow, beating the defending champion Franziska Brauße (Germany) in the final. Dygert caught Brauße in the final 200m of the 3km event, before clocking a time of 3-17.542 over the line. 

“I’m so thankful, I’m so happy to be on that top step,” the American told Cycling Weekly after the medal ceremony. “Hearing that national anthem just brought chills to my body.” 

Dygert’s world title, a career fourth in the individual pursuit, came three years after her accident suffered in the time trial at the 2020 World Championships. During her effort in Imola, Italy, she flipped over a metal barrier and sliced her left thigh. The injury has since required her to undergo three rounds of surgery. 

“The journey has been very tough,” she said of her return to world champion status. “There have been a lot of ups and downs. There’s been a lot of inconsistency. There’s been more injury than just the leg - I’ve had Epstein-Barr [virus], I’ve had heart surgery. 

“It’s been a lot to overcome, and I’m very grateful to not only have the physical ability to perform, but also the mental capacity to overcome setbacks.”

Despite her title-winning form, Dygert insisted that she is yet to return to her best level. “I hate to say it after winning a world title, but if I’m being completely honest with myself, I know I’m not at 100%,” she said. “But that also gives me hope going up towards the Olympics, because the Olympics is the end goal for me. 

“This is just checking off the boxes of where my fitness needs to be and just taking those one-percenters. I’m just trying to get as good as I can, the best I can, as fast as I can, and I’m loving the process and going with the flow.” 

The American had hoped to better her world record in the individual pursuit, which has stood at 3-16.937 since February 2020. When she stepped off her bike after her race in Glasgow, she shook her head in disappointment.

“I am definitely bummed,” she said, “but it’s such an honour to win again and be in this jersey. 

“We knew that this track wasn’t going to be fast, and it was going to be hard to try and get that record. That was really something I was aiming for, because this is the last chance to drop that record as the 3km is now going to become a 4km for the upcoming years.” 

Elsewhere in Thursday’s opening session at the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, Great Britain’s Will Tidball took gold in the Scratch race, while the German women’s team sprint trio claimed a fourth world title on the trot. 

There were also para-cycling golds for Keiko Sugiura (Japan), Kevin Le Cunff (France), Caroline Groot (France), Li Zhangyu (China), Daniel Abraham Gebru (Netherlands), Alexandre Léauté (France), as well as tandem duos Sophie Unwin and Jenny Holl (Great Britain) and Tristan Bangma and Patrick Bos (Netherlands).

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