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The 25-year-old on Canyon-SRAM is taking aim at the yellow jersey in the inaugural edition of the women’s Tour, set to run July 24-31.
“It’s such a huge goal. It’s a goal for all these women to be part of the first ever Tour de France Femmes,” Dygert said in an interview. “It’s a huge step forward for all of us and I hope this is just the benchmark, the starting ground to what it’s gonna become.”
Dygert hasn’t raced since Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in February. She was later diagnosed with Epstein-Barr virus, a diagnosis that put a stop to her 2022 spring classics campaign.
- Dygert sidelined by Epstein-Barr
- Dygert named to U.S. nationals start list
- Dygert strong at Omloop classics debut
She’s since been recovering at home, and hopes to race the U.S. nationals June 23-26 in Knoxville, Tennessee.
“Every day is a new day. Sometimes I’ll have really good days, and other days feel like I took three steps back,” she said. “It’s been a very frustrating process but I’m just trusting those around me as we’re doing everything we can with the team, USA Cycling, and my doctors.
“I’m just taking it day by day and hoping I can overcome this soon because I still have a lot of things that I want to do this season,” said Dygert, who is also targeting road worlds in September. “So those are still on my list to accomplish. It’s just a matter of if my body can get there in time.”
Long road back from injury
An Olympic track medalist, Dygert burst onto the international road scene in 2019 with a flourish when she won the world time trial title in her first major European elite racing event, and finished fourth in the road race.
Dygert, however, crashed heavily in the 2020 world time trial race in Italy to leave her leg with a deep gash that threatened her blossoming career. A long recovery saw her return in 2021 in time for the Olympic Games, where she won silver in the women’s team pursuit.
Her renewed focus on road racing was cut short this spring with Epstein-Barr. She said her faith in God helped her in recovery, and she’s hoping the worst is now behind her.
“I go back to my faith and I think of this being just God’s plan. And as much as I don’t agree with it all the time, I know that in the end I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing in his terms,” she said.
“I’m very used to setbacks. It is frustrating, especially when I’m having to sit out for such a long period of time, but I do think it’s an advantage to have been able to mentally overcome these physical setbacks,” Dygert said. “I struggle with it, every day, it’s not easy. But it also makes it easier when things go wrong on race days.”
Blevins, Batten, Dygert, McNulty headline US national team for 2022. USA Cycling confirms a 98-rider multi-discipline team aiming toward ambitious long-term goals of world championship podiums and Olympic medals.https://t.co/jyXBvQ2hMO
— VeloNews (@velonews) June 8, 2022
This year’s Tour de France Femmes doesn’t include a time trial, a discipline that would give Dygert an advantage against the climbers.
She said she’s intent on racing for the maillot jaune, be it for her or one of her teammates.
“We have a super strong team, so if I’m there, I’m going do what’s good for me but also for the team,” she said. “If that means I work for the team the whole time, that’s what I’m gonna do.
“This is such a huge opportunity. Being on the top step, it doesn’t matter if it’s me or someone else wearing our colours. It would be such an honor to be part of it and help us go for that maillot jaune.”