Chloé Dygert poised for February return to racing after years plagued by illness and injury

The American racer suffered a severe laceration to her left leg in a high-speed crash in 2020 and contracted Epstein-Barr this spring.

Photo: Maja Hitij/Getty Images

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Canyon-SRAM team boss Ronny Lauke is optimistic that Chloé Dygert will be able to return to a full race program next season after two years hampered by illness and injury.

Dygert signed a four-year contract with the German team ahead of the 2021 season but has only raced one day with them at this year’s Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.

Her opening season with the team was curtailed by a serious leg injury she picked up at the 2020 UCI World Championships when she crashed over a guardrail during the time trial as well as preparations for the delayed Tokyo Olympics. She finally made her Canyon-SRAM debut at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in February but was forced to sit on the sidelines again after contracting Epstein-Barr soon after.

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Dygert is now hard at work with the hope that she’ll be able to start racing in early February.

“She’s back on the bike, she’s back on training, and we all have the strong belief that we will see her from next season, within our team,” Lauke told VeloNews. “The idea is that we have her from spring and the early races with us. What we plan is that she is now having the preparation and the training, and then we have her, from the early part of next year, in training camps.

“Then, she’s starting basically, if we get an invitation to the UAE Tour or if we get an invitation to the Tour of Valencia, with one of those stage races, or she is starting with Het Nieuwsblad, but one of those races the plan is that we have already with us.”

Dygert has faced a long recovery period after injuring her leg two years ago in Imola. The 25-year-old suffered a severe laceration to her left leg that cut through around 80 percent of her quad muscle.

She recently underwent a second surgery on her leg to remove some scar tissue that had begun to build up inside the muscle and was causing her pain. While she’s not back to 100 percent with her leg, she has taken some big strides forward since the operation.

“It has become better. I wouldn’t say it’s back to normal. But at least she can move again, she can train properly,” Lauke said. “But she always has the feeling that something happened to that leg, that it is different than before. We are all very curious how that relates to her bike riding and racing later. But at the moment, we remain confident that it will be the that she will become competitive again.”

Lauke described Dygert as one of the team’s biggest “engines” and said that her power was missed in the bunch this season. She still has two years to run on her contract with Canyon-SRAM and Lauke remains hopeful that it can be a successful union.

“We make a commitment to the rider, and even when there’s times that it’s bad and not as we hoped then we say, ‘okay, we stick to it,’ and we try to help the rider and be supportive. We try to compromise and be alongside them when times are heavy and difficult,” he said.

“This is what happened with her. We have another season or another two seasons with her, so the hope remains that we can bring her back to winning ways, and then it’s a much nicer story, and a nicer feeling for her and for ourselves that after those hard months and years, when we finally get to the point where we hopefully can enjoy a nice result or even a victory together.”

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