American cyclist Chloé Dygert, 23, has abandoned the 2020 UCI Road World Championships in Imola, Italy, following a significant crash during her time trial today. Video of the incident shows Dygert losing control of her bike, causing her to collide with a guardrail and flip over the side of it.
Dygert suffered a significant laceration to her left leg, according to an update by USA Cycling. She was treated by medics on site immediately after her crash, then taken to a hospital in Bologna, Italy, where she had surgery.
“We are relieved that this crash was not worse than what it could have been. While this crash is distressing, Chloé is young and a fighter,” said Jim Miller, USA Cycling’s Chief of Sport Performance, in the statement. “With Chloé’s determination, we know she will be back riding before we know it. For now, we want her to focus on healing.”
Dygert posted a graphic photo of her injury on Twitter with the following caption.
“I remember thinking what if I can get my bike can I still win? The first thing I remember was asking [Miller] if I was done. Then I looked down and saw my leg. Thank you for all the well wishes ❤️I’ll be back.”
“Chloé is a gifted athlete,” Kristen Armstrong, Dygert’s coach, said in the statement. “She’s had accidents in the past and returned stronger than ever. I have no doubt that this will be the case again.”
The time trial is one of Dygert’s specialties, and she was certainly a favorite going into this race. Dygert was last year’s time trial world champion and she broke two records simultaneously with her performance—both becoming the youngest world champion ever in that discipline and winning by the biggest time margin in history.
Dygert was on track this time to win the time trial again before she crashed. She was ahead by 26.54 seconds at the 14.9K checkpoint in the 32K race.
The crash alludes to, once again, failures in safety protocol at pro cycling races. Protective padding can be seen covering the beginning of the guardrail as Dygert starts her turn through the corner, but it egregiously doesn’t cover the entire length of it—notably further down, which is where her crash happens. It’s hard to determine from the video if there was a mechanical problem with her bike or if Dygert’s bike was wobbling from approaching the corner at too high of a speed.
Dygert’s injuries may very well threaten her chances at being competitive—or even competing— at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, set for July of next year. She qualified early on for the Olympic team after her world championship time trial win last year. Dygert is no stranger to the Olympics either, having won a silver medal in the team pursuit at the Rio Olympic Games in 2016.
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