Michael Jackson, Pink, moonwalking — these are a few of her favorite things. Chloe Dygert walked through the hotel next to the finish in downtown Richmond, Virginia with a wide smile and the rainbow bands of world champion after the junior women’s road race. The jersey on her back will not be alone in her closet, as the American, 18, won the individual time trial earlier in the week as well — two world championships in the span of five days.
Unable to walk more than 10 feet without someone congratulating her or asking for a picture, the delight oozes from her pores, timidity simply non-existent. “It’s really awesome, and I could not have done it without [my teammates],” Dygert said on her win in the road race Friday. “Going one-two again, it’s just awesome.”
Dygert began racing only about three years ago, and although she found success early on, it hasn’t been all rainbows for her.
“I did junior nationals, 15-16 in 2013,” Dygert said. “I got third in the road race and the TT, and I won the crit.” The enthusiasm and never-ending smile fades at this point. “I was too young to go to worlds, so …” Dygert left the sentence hanging. A successful 2013 boded well going into 2014, but her season was derailed when she tore her ACL playing basketball in January, a huge setback after reaching the podium in all three disciplines at her first national championships.
Through recovery and rehab, Dygert battled back from an injury that could possibly have permanently kept her off bike, all at the tender age of 17. Mentally strong seems like an understatement.
On the comeback this year, the Indiana native showed her prowess at nationals in Chattanooga in May. She won both the women’s junior 17-18 road race and the individual time trial, victories she credits to her fiancée, Axeon rider Logan Owen. “Logan is a great inspiration and he actually helped me win nationals,” Dygert said.
“He came over, and he helped me train, and he just gave me the win. Logan is an amazing guy. He’s a good boy.”
Dygert does not lack self-confidence, but she’s not arrogant or self-absorbed. Down to earth and at ease with herself, her support system includes the who’s who of women’s cycling.
Ina Teutenburg, one of the greatest female cyclists of all-time, acted as director of the American women’s junior team in Richmond and inspired Dygert.
“Ina is unbelievable, I love her, she is the coolest ever,” Dygert says. “She’s just a tactical genius, and I am honored to have her as our director and I wouldn’t choose anybody else.”
As for two-time Olympic gold medalist and Twenty16-Sho-Air teammate Kristen Armstrong, Dygert simply said, “She’s been my guy. [Armstrong] is just a huge inspiration. Even all of the girls here, Evelyn Stevens, Coryn [Rivera], just everybody, everybody has been so helpful and I am honored to be part of the U.S.A.”
Another one of Dygert’s Twenty16 teammates, Andrea Dvorak, predicted Dygert’s world title back at the end of August at the Women’s USA Pro Challenge. “Chloe Dygert, junior 17-18 world champion, you heard it here first,” Dvorak told VeloNews.
Dygert was blown away by Dvorak’s statement. “That means a lot for her to say that. Being as young as I am and being able to race with [Twenty16-Sho-Air] this year has just been great. I am really glad to be on this team.”
She may be a two-time world champion, but the Olympic dream is also on her mind. “It’s a dream of anybody’s,” Dygert said. “I just hope I can go there.”