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Chloé Dygert is yet to turn a pedal in Canyon-SRAM colors, but the team already has big plans for its newly signed American sensation.
Dygert has a four-year deal and a date with classics greatness at the German squad – at least that’s what team manager Ronny Lauke hopes.
“With her physical strength she can do more than just time trial,” Lauke told Sporza. “Our big goal is to help Dygert to become one of the best riders for the classics.”
With a long history of dominance on the track and a career-capping time trial world title and series of track pursuit world records, Lauke sees classics potential in the 24-year-old’s short explosive power.
Canyon-SRAM has a long-term plan to develop Dygert’s tactical savvy and racecraft in the tight cluttered streets of northern Europe to mould her into a force capable of breaking the stranglehold of racers such as Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten.
“In the first place, we want to put the Dutch women to the test, and then hopefully start winning matches with Dygert. She is not afraid of anyone,” Lauke said. “She certainly has the capabilities to compete in Liège-Bastogne-Liège or the Amstel Gold Race. The Flèche Wallonne is something special with that finish on the Mur de Huy.”
However, first things first, Lauke and Dygert’s new team want to ensure she is fully recovered from the huge laceration to her thigh that she sustained in a horrific crash at the 2020 time trial worlds. Canyon-SRAM is placing no racing expectations on its new recruit for the first half of this season as she continues her rehabilitation.
“Dygert is still recovering from her bad crash at the world championship time trial in Imola,” Lauke said. “Her first big goal this year is the Olympic Games, where she will compete in both the time trial and the track.”
“We certainly do not want Dygert to start racing again too soon,” he said. “We want to avoid at all costs that she develops new physical problems. The health of the riders is always a priority.”
Dygert’s long rehabilitation from injury is part of a tricky start to her career at Canyon-SRAM. In late 2020 Dygert made a public apology after photos circulated showing tweets she had ‘liked’ over the summer. One tweet, written by author Candace Owens, slammed former NFL quarterback and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick, saying “Hope everyone had a happy 4th! Colin Kapernick sure did back in 2011, before he realized that if he grew an afro and played the part of victim, he could scam the black community out of millions. Those were the days!”
In November, Dygert released a statement saying: “Cycling should be for everyone regardless of color, gender, sexuality or background. Like Canyon-SRAM Racing, I am committed to promoting diversity, inclusion and equality in cycling and our wider communities. I apologize to those who felt offended or hurt by my conduct on social media. I am committed to keep learning and growing as an athlete and a person.”