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Nicola Cranmer on Chloé Dygert: ‘We will support her physically and emotionally’

Twenty20 boss Nicola Cranmer says Chloé Dygert was strong and ready to defend her worlds TT title in Imola.

Like cycling fans across the globe, Nicola Cranmer planned her Thursday morning around Chloé Dygert’s individual time trial ride at the UCI world championships.

Cranmer, owner and manager of the Twenty20 pro team that employs Dygert, had organized a Zwift ride with the Twenty20 team’s community to coincide with Dygert’s starting time in Imola. So, just as Dygert sped down the stating ramp and onto the 31.7-kilometer course, Cranmer and the other Twenty20 athletes put in a burst of speed on their stationary bicycles to send extra energy to their friend and teammate.

“[Coach] Kristin [Armstrong] was on the ride and we were sharing fun stories about Chloé, and we were all wearing pink socks in support of her,” Cranmer told VeloNews. “People were literally cheering for her from around the world.”

Cranmer and others watched in horror as Dygert crashed midway through the time trial world championships, struck a metal guardrail, and fell into a field. Images of Dygert in the moments after the crash revealed a serious gash on her left knee, and she was eventually taken away in an ambulance and then airlifted to a hospital in Bologna. She did not finish the race.

Nicola Cranmer. Photo: Brian Hodes

Cranmer, who has worked with Dygert since she was a teenager, immediately called Armstrong and then Dygert’s family to discuss the injury and the crash with those who know the American Olympian best. Since then, she has been on the phone with USA Cycling officials in Italy to try and get updates on Dygert’s condition.

“We’re all in utter shock of what happened today,” Cranmer said. “We didn’t really know what to say to each other.”

Cranmer has spent the summer months in Boise, Idaho, alongside Armstrong and Dygert, as Dygert has prepared for her world time trial defense. While other women in the race raced the UCI women’s WorldTour, Dygert instead prepared for the race solely in training, logging long and hard miles on the roads outside of Boise. Prior to the race, Dygert spoke to VeloNews about the challenges posed by the training-only preparation.

Cranmer said that she and Armstrong were confident that Dygert’s preparation would propel her to the win.

“I know how she trains and how little racing she really needs, and Kristin knows how strong she is. We felt like she was ready for the race,” Cranmer said. “Honestly, we’re so proud of how she trained this year. She’s been extremely focused and determined, and I believe she would have pulled out the win.”

Like fans back home, Cranmer and Armstrong are now waiting for updates on Dygert’s health from officials in Italy. She said the international cycling community has reached out online with words of encouragement for the team and Dygert.

“It’s been extremely touching to receive these messages and well-wishes,” Cranmer said. “We will definitely pass those along to Chloé.”

Cranmer has worked with Dygert through injuries before — in 2018 Dygert crashed at the Amgen Tour of California and suffered a concussion, and then spent much of the ensuing year recovering from the injury. While the injuries today will determine the details and duration of Dygert’s future in cycling, Cranmer said she believes Dygert’s iron will and strong support network will help her bounce back.

“We will support her, physically and emotionally, with whatever she needs in her recovery,” Cranmer said. “She has a great support system. She has so many people in her corner that elevate her and keep her focused. This is going to challenge her for sure. She’s 23 and has a ton of world championships ahead.”