American Chloe Dygert abandoned Thursday’s UCI time trial world championships after crashing during the 31.7-kilometer race.
Dygert, the defending champion in the event, crashed while navigating a sharp right-hand turn on the twisting course around Imola, Italy, and struck a metal guardrail. TV cameras caught sight of the American flipping over the metal barrier and off of her bicycle.
According to a statement released by USA Cycling, Dygert suffered a laceration to her left leg as a result of the crash.
Jim Miller, USA Cycling’s Chief of Sport Performance, said the results of the crash were “not worse than what it could have been.”
“We are relieved that this crash was not worse than what it could have been. While this crash is distressing, Chloe is young and a fighter,” Miller said. “With Chloe’s determination, we know she will be back riding before we know it. For now, we want her to focus on healing.”
Photographs taken immediately after the accident showed Dygert being loaded into an ambulance by emergency personnel. Dygert struck a metal section of guardrail that was not covered by protective padding.
Dygert was airlifted to a hospital in Bologna where she underwent surgery on the wound. According to USA Cycling, Dygert is out of surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
Dygert’s coach, three-time Olympic champion Kristin Armstrong, said she expects Dygert to recover from the crash.
“Chloe is a gifted athlete. She’s had accidents in the past and returned stronger than ever. I have no doubt that this will be the case again,” Armstrong said.
At the time of her crash Dygert owned a sizable lead on her competition. After the race’s first time check — which came after 14.9 kilometers — Dygert was 26.54 seconds up on Marlen Reusser of Switzerland, with Anna van der Breggen of The Netherlands in third place at 36.25 seconds.
Van der Breggen eventually took the victory, finishing the course in 40:20.14 with Reusser in second.
American Amber Neben finished 6th place and Lauren Stephens finished in 9th place overall.
Dygert won the 2019 UCI world individual time trial championships on a rainy day in Harrogate, UK, defeating van der Breggen by 1:33 and then defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten by nearly two minutes. It was a stunning win by the American in just her second attempt at the elite worlds TT.
Dygert is hoping to compete in both the individual time trial and the track events at the upcoming 2021 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.