Chloé Dygert returned to training this week for the first time since her latest surgery and told VeloNews that she is “pain-free” and ready to make up for lost time following two years ravaged by injury and surgeries.
The American rider saw her first training track training session Friday on the track at the 7-Eleven Velodrome in Colorado Springs following an end-of-season operation to remove scar tissue from a long-standing injury.
Dygert, 25, sustained a career-threatening leg injury at the 2020 UCI World Championships when she crashed into a guardrail during the time trial. Her 2022 season was then curtailed by Epstein-Barr, before she announced that another operation was needed in August.
VeloNews was invited to the Olympic champion’s first training session in Colorado since her recovery where she was put through her paces with a series of short motor pacing sessions, each lasting between 10 to 15 minutes.
Accompanied by USA Cycling’s Gary Sutton, and riding her trade team Canyon time trial bike, Dygert opened up about her recovery and her plans for next year.
“I’ve been looking forward to it. I was on the track at the beginning of the year in January when we first tested the Canyon, so this will be the first time back on the bike on the track since then. The leg is great. The past surgery made the difference,” she told VeloNews.
“I don’t have pain and the little things, like I had 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.”
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Dygert’s race program for 2023 has yet to be finalized but she will dovetail track and road as she aims to secure selection for the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024. She will compete in a batch of UCI Track World Cups, but also remain focused on her trade team duties for Canyon SRAM.
“I think how qualifications work for the Olympics is that there are three World Cups for the track and they take the best two out of the three. So we’re going to focus on two that I’m going to go to, and then I’ll spend the rest of the year focusing on the road but also on the time trial,” she said.
Dygert admitted that the last two years had been tough on her career, both from an athletic and personal perspective. Her outlook is now to look forward and move on.
“It’s been about two years in which 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. “I can sit here, complain and be a baby about it but that’s not going to change anything.
“All I have to do is look forward and do all the right things to make sure that when I am on the bike all the work that I’ve done over the last few years is not for nothing. 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.”
Dygert will be back on the track on Monday or Tuesday.
With reporting and photos from Casey Gibson.