American cyclist Chloe Dygert is yet again a UCI World Champion less than three years after a horrific crash at the same event.
Dygert, now 26, was a prodigy.
She dominated cycling at a young age and won a silver medal on the track at the 2016 Rio Olympics at just 19 years old.
The Brownsburg, Indiana native also dominated on the road, where she was a junior world champion in the time trial and the road race the year prior.
Dygert finished just off the podium in fourth place in the senior level time trial in 2017, but did not compete in the 2018 event.
One year later, she claimed her place as the world’s preeminent women’s time trialist. Dygert won the 2019 world title in England by a massive 1 minute and 32 seconds over second-placed Anna van der Breggen.
She returned the following year in Italy in hopes of defending her crown and as the clear favorite. At the first time check, Dygert was well up on the competition. She continued to pull away as the race went on and it appeared she would cruise to a second world title.
But then disaster struck
Dygert descended off a hill and proceeded to take a right-hand turn with too much speed (15:38 mark of the video above). She went tumbling over a guardrail on the side of the road and down a hill into a vineyard below.
The impact with the barrier destroyed her left leg. She suffered a massive laceration to her quadriceps and torn ligaments. The resulting scene was gruesome to say the very least.
Dygert returned a year later at the Tokyo Olympics and somehow finished seventh in the time trial, but it was clear she was not herself.
Great to see Chloe Dygert back at international level after her horrific accident, and 7th at Olympics is an admirable ride, but that looked just incredibly painful. All over the cockpit, shifting around in the saddle, clutching her injured leg afterward. #CyclingRoad #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/EaA6B541yw
— Neal Rogers 🇺🇦 (@nealrogers) July 28, 2021
She dealt with illnesses and eventually had to have a second surgery to remove scar tissue that had built up.
But this season has been a revelation. Dygert returned to regular racing with her Canyon-SRAM team. She finished well in a pair of high-profile races and looked in great shape heading into this week’s world championships.
Last week, she won gold on the track in the four-kilometer individual pursuit.
But the time trial was the real measure of where she was at.
Unfortunately, an illness in the days leading up put her participation at risk.
Unfortunately, we have news that @chloedygert30 has suffered from illness since winning her 4th 🌈 title in the IP and racing the TP last week.
— CANYON//SRAM Racing & CANYON//SRAM Generation (@WMNcycling) August 10, 2023
Dygert decided that she was forge ahead and race. And it turned out to be a great decision. She held off Australian Grace Brown, last year’s world silver medalist, by just five seconds to become the world champion in the time trial for the second time.
"This is really special." 🥇⭐️
— Eurosport (@eurosport) August 10, 2023
Talk about an incredible comeback story.