Chloé Dygert has been the forgotten woman of pro cycling this year. The Canyon-SRAM Racing rider only competed on the road once, at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in late February, after another season blighted by illness.
It has been a long road back to fitness since a horrific crash into a guard rail at the 2020 UCI World Championships in Imola, which resulted in an 80 per cent laceration to her left quad and numerous surgeries.
However, her latest operation in August, intended to remove scar tissue and enable greater muscular function, has paid dividends.
“The past surgery made the difference,” she told VeloNews (opens in new tab). “I don’t have pain and the little things, like pain when standing up, getting in and out of the car, just from everyday life. I was in pain, and I thought that’s how my life was going to be, but this past surgery took it all away. I’m pain free, and I couldn’t be happier.”
The leg injury has threatened her cycling career and led to prolonged stints of rehabilitation. After riding to a bronze medal as part of the US Olympic team pursuit lineup last August, she had surgery to remove a mass of scar tissue.
Dygert returned to training but contracted the Epstein-Barr virus soon after racing Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. It caused her to miss the rest of the 2022 season and opt for more surgery in the summer.
“I’ve not been able to do the things that I’ve wanted to do, but again, it’s out of my control,” she said of the last two years.
Success has often been followed by injury adversity during Dygert’s career. However, she took another important step back towards competition on November 11, riding on the track for the first time in ten months, at the 7-Eleven Velodrome in Colorado Springs.
A seven-time world champion on the track and 2019 road world time trial champion, Dygert is focused on making up for the lost time. “I’m working really hard on and off the bike, in every possible way to make sure that next year is going to be a good one,” she said.
The 25-year-old’s schedule for 2023 has not yet been set in stone, but she will mix road and track as she targets selection for the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. She intends to do at least two UCI Track World Cup events to gain qualification.
In June, Dygert also described the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift as a “huge goal“. With a 22-kilometre time trial announced in the route for next year’s race, a debut there will likely be on her list of goals, health permitting.