Chloé Dygert storms to women's time trial victory at World Championships

American takes second World Championships title of her career, finishes six seconds ahead of Australia's Grace Brown

Chloé Dygert rides at the 2023 World Championships
(Image credit: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Chloé Dygert of the United States stormed to victory in the women's elite time trial at the World Championships on Thursday in Stirling, Scotland. She set a fast early time, which could not be beaten over the 36.2km course, despite the all-out efforts of some of the best riders in the world.

It took until the penultimate rider set off for someone to come within a minute of the American's time, as Grace Brown of Australia powered up the final climb in Stirling to finish less than six seconds off Dygert's effort.

Christina Schweinberger (Austria) finished in between the pair, finishing 1-13 behind Dygert to take the bronze medal, pipping Britain's Anna Henderson to the final podium spot.

Dygert's triumph came four years after her last World Championships win, and three years after she crashed in the same event in Imola, a horrific crash from which she's been recovering ever since. She won gold on Thursday despite suffering from a cold, which makes the ride even more impressive.

Pre-race favourite Marlen Reusser (Switzerland) climbed off halfway through her effort, appearing to suffer from an injury, while her trade teammate and Tour de France Femmes champion Demi Vollering (Netherlands) finished sixth overall.

"This is really special," Dygert said post-race. "It's not just special for me but everyone behind me... This means a lot for us. Trusting the process and God's plan. I'm really thankful."

"I was really worried, if the race was yesterday I don't think I would have started," she said on her illness. "I spent the last four days praying to God that I could start. I did everything I could, and it was just enough for today.

"I gave 100%, and that's all," she continued. "Grace Brown is amazing, that was a huge ride from her. I was nervous, it was a super strong finish from her. I'm just happy it was enough."

Meanwhile, Antonia Niedermaier (Germany) won the under-23 world title, as the category is raced within the elite women's race. The 20-year-old beat Cédrine Kerbaol (France) by eight seconds and Julie De Wilde by 40 seconds.

How it happened

Lotte Hentala (Finland) set an early fastest time on the 36.2km course from Stirling to Stirling. despite a crash in the final kilometre after clipping the kerb, in an effort to avoid the hardest part of the cobbles. Her period in the hot seat was very short lived, however, after Eugenia Bujak (Slovenia) went almost four minutes quicker.

Chloé Dygert (USA) was fastest at every time check on her early ride, a ride that was a lot earlier than any other of her big rivals for the title, potentially due to reported sickness. The former world champion set a blistering time of 46-59.80, a time which would guarantee her place in the hot seat for a long time, after going 2-29 over Bujak. She rode the course at an average of 46.2km/h.

Anna Henderson (Great Britain) went through the first timing check just 25 seconds down on Chloé Dygert, the closest rider to the American in the race at that point. Demi Vollering (Netherlands), one of the favourites, was fifth at the first time check, 42 seconds down. 

Emma Norsgaard (Denmark) was the first to come close to Bujak or Dygert, finishing almost three minutes down on the race leader, but doing enough to claim a provisional third. 

Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka (Poland) displaced Norsgaard from the provisional podium, however, coming in just 1-38 behind her trade teammate Dygert. Her time in second did not last long, though, with Henderson sticking to her early speed in the time trial and finishing 1-15 behind the leader.

Even Henderson’s time in second did not last, with Christina Schweinberger (Austria) going two seconds quicker than the Brit, 1-13 behind Dygert.

Despite posting the fourth best time at the first timing check, Marlen Reusser (Switzerland), one of the pre-race favourites, abandoned ahead of the second checkpoint, sitting down on the roadside after climbing off her bike.

Another pre-race favourite, Demi Vollering (Netherlands) could only manage provisional fourth, 1-28 down on Dygert. “That wasn’t good,” she was caught saying on television post-race.

The final threat to Dygert’s time left on the course was Grace Brown of Australia, who was second at every time check through the ride. It was on the final climb up to Stirling Castle where Brown really started to challenge, however, with the Australian flying up the cobbles. Sadly for her, it was not quite enough, with Brown finishing six seconds down on Dygert.

The American, then, three years after her horror crash in the same event at Imola, bounced back to stand on top of the world once more.

Results: World Championships elite women's individual time trial (36.2km)

1. Chloe Dygert, United States, in 46-59
2. Grace Brown, Australia, at 6s
3. Christina Schweinberger, Austria, at 1-13
4. Anna Henderson, Great Britain, at 1-15
5. Juliette Labous, France, at 1-22
6. Demi Vollering, Netherlands, at 1-28
7. Agnieszka Skalniak-Sójka, Polan, at 1-38
8. Amber Neben, United States, at 1-52
9. Riejanne Markus, Netherlands, at 2-08
10. Georgie Howe, Australia, at 2-26

Results: World Championships under-23 individual time trial (36.2km)

1. Antonia Niedermaier, Germany, in 49-26
2. Cédrine Kerbaol, France, at 8s
3. Julie De Wilde, Belgium, at 40s
4. Annniina Ahtosalo, at 2-09
5. Petra Zsankó, Hungary, at 2-15
6. Nora Jenčušová, Slovakia, at 2-33
7. Eliška Kvasničková, Czech Republic, at 2-51
8. Ella Wyllie, New Zealand, at 3-20
9. Febe Jooris, Belgium, at 3-27
10. Nina Berton, Luxembourg, at 3-40

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