Chloé Dygert (Canyon-SRAM) has excelled since returning to road racing following her horrific injury and bout with illness but believes the lingering effects of that leg laceration sustained at the 2020 World Championships are something she will have to live with for the rest of her career.
The former World Time Trial Champion is no stranger to sustained suffering, but that pain threshold is now tested more than ever post-race due to the severity of the injury and the subsequent surgeries she needed to remove scar tissue.
“I think this injury is probably going to be there the rest of my life,” said Dygert. “I just think the blood flow isn’t normal or ever going to be the same, but I can’t complain because I’m able to race and able to perform.
“It’s a blessing to be back and I won’t complain, that’s just the way it is and how it’s going to be and that’s OK.”
Dygert visibly struggled to walk in the immediate moments after stages 2 and 3 of the RideLondon Classique and even had to sit by the barriers in pain after her victory on stage 2 in Maldon.
The American star was unable to close the gap to Charlotte Kool (Team DSM) and take the overall win after the final stage but finished closest to her in the bunch sprint and overtook Lizzie Deignan (Trek Segafredo) through bonus seconds to secure second in the general classification.
Her Canyon-SRAM teammate Maike van der Duin finished in third on the day after the duo tried to jump early on the iconic Mall in London, rounding off a solid week for the German squad in which Dygert secured their first WorldTour level victory since 2019.
“I’m really happy with the team, we worked so well together and it was really exciting to pull something like that off,” Dygert said. “I think at this point we’re really learning to trust each other and have a lot of faith in each other and that’s how wins and podiums are going to come out.
“This was a great achievement for all of us and this is just the beginning, we have a lot more to go with each other.”
Dygert has been on an upward trajectory since returning and impressing at La Vuelta Femenina where she finished third twice and powered her team to second in the opening team time trial.
The 26-year-old went on to race at the Vuelta a Burgos where she podiumed two stages and finished fourth overall in a very strong field. Her three days of racing at RideLondon were even more successful and if she had not crashed on stage 1, she may have been closer to Kool’s GC time at the end.
“Without sounding cocky I want to do everything I can to be the best and there are so many riders in this peloton that are so good and I look up to all of them,” said Dygert. “They make me better every day and are helping me get my confidence in the peloton seeing how they move their way through the bunch.
“I’m learning how to become a better sprinter, how to be better in the peloton, how to be a better climber, I just don’t want to limit myself.
“I know my fitness is still rising and I have a lot more to go. To be where I’m at now I’m really grateful because we still have a couple months until World Championships, it’s just going to get better and better.”
Dygert is settling in for a jam-packed summer all leading into the UCI World Championships in Glasgow where she wants to compete on both the road and track in a short window of time.
If all goes well in qualification, she hopes to do the individual pursuit and team pursuit on track alongside the road race and individual time trial on the road, with the bigger goal of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games always on the American’s mind.