Defending champion Chloe Dygert suffers horror crash as Anna van der Breggen wins world time trial title in Imola

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Defending champion Chloe Dygert endures horrific crash in Imola as Anna van der Breggen wins world time trial title - GETTY IMAGESDefending champion Chloe Dygert endures horrific crash in Imola as Anna van der Breggen wins world time trial title - GETTY IMAGES

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Defending champion Chloe Dygert endures horrific crash in Imola as Anna van der Breggen wins world time trial title – GETTY IMAGES

Questions are being asked of cycling’s world governing body the UCI after American Chloe Dygert suffered an horrific crash in the women’s time trial on the opening day of the world road race championships in Italy on Thursday.

The defending champion, who was ahead of the required pace at the time of her crash, lost control at a right-hand corner, wobbled and flipped over a metal guard rail, tumbling down an embankment and sustaining a deep gash to her left leg in the process.

The padding which covered the guardrail did not extend beyond the apex of the corner.

Tour of Britain director Mick Bennett tweeted: “It drives me completely mental who the hell agrees this sort/level of safety implementation/provision Please give me the job UCI, and sack whoever he or she is.”

It is unclear how serious Dygert’s injuries are. USA Cycling said on Thursday night that she was “conscious and talking” and that it would update the public on her condition in due course.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“Dygert was on track to win her second ITT [individual time trial] world championship&nbsp;[title], but has abandoned the race after her crash over the guard rail,” the governing body tweeted.” data-reactid=”35″>“Dygert was on track to win her second ITT [individual time trial] world championship [title], but has abandoned the race after her crash over the guard rail,” the governing body tweeted.

“All we know is that she is conscious and talking. We are in contact with our coaches and Chloe’s team on the ground in Italy. We will post a report on her condition as soon as we have absolute clear confirmation as to her condition.”

Dygert’s father later told IndyStar that his daughter did not have any broken bones but that the quadriceps was sliced “from one side to the other” and that a ligament was “severed or severely damaged.”

A long-term injury would be a huge blow less than 12 months out from the postponed Tokyo Olympics. Dygert anchors the American team pursuit quartet who beat Britain to gold at this year’s world track cycling championships.

Chloe Dygert — Defending champion Chloe Dygert endures horrific crash in Imola as Anna van der Breggen wins world time trial title - GETTY IMAGESChloe Dygert — Defending champion Chloe Dygert endures horrific crash in Imola as Anna van der Breggen wins world time trial title - GETTY IMAGES

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Chloe Dygert — Defending champion Chloe Dygert endures horrific crash in Imola as Anna van der Breggen wins world time trial title – GETTY IMAGES

Dutch rider Anna Van der Breggen eventually took the victory on the 31.7-kilometre course, which started and ended on Imola’s famous motor racing circuit. The reigning Olympic road race champion clocked 40min 20.14sec with Marlen Reusser of Switzerland second, some 15secs slower, and Ellen van Dijk, also of Holland, third at 31secs.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Britain’s representatives Lizzy Banks and Alice Barnes finished 15th and 19th respectively. Banks, who took a brilliant stage win at the recent Giro Rosa, said she had “nothing left” in her legs and had “died” towards the end of her effort.” data-reactid=”60″>Britain’s representatives Lizzy Banks and Alice Barnes finished 15th and 19th respectively. Banks, who took a brilliant stage win at the recent Giro Rosa, said she had “nothing left” in her legs and had “died” towards the end of her effort.

“It was hard but isn’t a time trial supposed to be hard?” said the 29-year-old laughing. “It was a pretty flat course, but with quite a strong headwind so it was important to pace the first half really well, which I felt I did. But then in the second half I had nothing left in my legs. 

“I guess that’s just a consequence of Giro fatigue and not quite knowing how you’re going to come out of it.

“I was just trying to push on the way back and going over the rises, where I would normally be whacking out 400 watts, I could barely push what I would usually be trying to hold. So yeah, it was a challenge but a good learning experience. I was really dying at the end.”