Chloe Dygert has crashed out of the elite women’s time trial at the Imola 2020 Road World Championships.
The US rider fell at high speed after the mid-way point on the 31.7km-long course, as she ran wide on a rapid right-hand turn.
Dygert, who was by far the fastest rider at the intermediate timing check, was thrown over the crash barrier at the side of the road.
USA Cycling said on Twitter that Dygert was "conscious and talking" following the incident.
The 23-year-old had been leading the race by 26 seconds over Switzerland’s Marlen Reusser at the intermediate timing point, 14.9km into the course.
A statement from the US cycling federation said: "Dygert was on track to win her second ITT World Championship, but has abandoned the race after her crash over the guard rail.
"All we know is that she is conscious and talking."
Dygert was the clear favourite heading into the race after she won the 2019 TT in Yorkshire by a huge margin over Anna van der Breggen (Netherlands).
The 2020 Worlds, initially planned for Switzerland, have been moved to the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, taking place around the famous Imola motor racing circuit.
This years women’s time trial follows the same out and back circuit as the men’s race, with a mostly flat profile aside from one 400 metre ramp.
After a technical closing section of the course, riders finished on the Imola circuit.
The victory was taken by Anna van der Breggen who, after being third at the intermediate timing point, rode to the win 15 seconds ahead of Marlen Reusser of Switzerland.
After finishing second on the Worlds TT on four occassions, Van der Breggen adds the title to her new European Championships win in August.
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