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  Chloe Dygert dominates to win time trial and road race junior world titles  
  September 30th 2015  
  Chloe Dygert claimed gold in both the junior women's time trial and road race at the UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. Winning both in convincing style. Dygert's dominance in both disciplines have many talking about her as the next big thing in women's cycling but who exactly is the 18 year old with a nose ring and tattoo of a cross on the back of her neck? In her own words the answer is simple. "I'm just a regular Christian girl from Brownsburg, Indiana that has a few piercings!"

The 18 year old is engaged to fellow cyclist Logan Owen, who riders for the Axeon Cycling Team, and competed in the under 23 road race and who Dygert credits with helping her career. "It is great; having someone like Logan by my side is perfect. He is so helpful and understanding to everything about the cyclist life. He's a good boy."

A sporting career that started on the basketball court, turned to cycling after a number of injuries including two reconstructive surgeries, one to her knee and another to her shoulder. It was while recovering from shoulder surgery in 2013 that Dygert took to the bike.

Just six weeks after shoulder surgery she claimed her first national title in the criterium. "Honestly, I had no clue what I was doing. I just kind of rode and thought nothing of it, just thought it was another race but just with people my age!" said Dygert. "But it was pretty cool to win, I made a deal with my dad that if I won I'd a get pair of Oakleys."

After recovering from surgery Dygert was encouraged back on to the basketball court by her coach but it wasn't long before injury struck again. In just her fourth game of the 2014 season a torn ACL ended the season almost as quickly as it had started.

The injury left doubt in her mind if she would be able to recover from yet another injury and return to cycling. "It was definitely tough, mentally and physically. I had no motivation to want to ride or even look at my bike," explained Dygert. "I was kind of pressured into playing basketball so getting injured like that was really hard on me.

"I started training again three months after surgery in hope I would be able to do the time trial at nationals which was five months after surgery, but it was too soon and I developed tendinitis in my knee, which caused me to sit out longer."

The injury caused her to miss the entire 2014 season and her first chance of racing at the under 19 level. "Once I was 100% healed I tried again, but wasn't performing at the level I wanted so I just stopped riding."

With support from her father who signed her up for power booster classes at Marian University, Dygert was on the path to recovery. "With the discipline and structure from those workouts it was like I never even tore my ACL."

Riding for the junior team of Twenty16 managed by Nicola Cranmer has put her in close contact with one of the sports best time trialists, two time Olympic and World Champion Kristin Armstrong.

"Definitely Kristin Armstrong," said Dygert when asked who the biggest influence on her career has been. "It is awesome having her on Twenty16; she's been a huge help and mentor!"

Dygert headed to Richmond as the US junior time trial and road race champion but being new to the sport was unsure of what to expect. "It was pretty cool, but again it just felt like another race."

"Being in the US was great especially since I haven't been racing for that long, and it was my first World Championship so it was nice not having to travel the world to race.

"I wanted to win, that's the obvious goal from everyone but I honestly didn't know what was going to happen."

As the ninth rider down the start ramp in the time trial, the first of the national events Dygert did not have to wait long to get a taste of racing the World Championships. With a time of 20mins 18secs for the 15-kilometre course, it immediately had people wondering if anyone could come close to the time.

With half the field yet to start she took her spot in the hot seat and watched rider after rider finish. "I was a little nervous, but Logan had called me while I was waiting and told me that there was no way for anyone to come close to my time, so after that I was pretty confident."

Teammate Emma White, the sixth last rider to start had come in and gone in to second place, putting the US team on track for a 1-2 finish in the opening event. Waiting with the pair was former rider and sprint great Ina-Yoko Teutenberg, who works with the US women's team.

As the final rider, last years silver medallist Pernille Mathiesen of Denmark crossed the line with her time untroubled Dygert was the world champion.

"It was cool, Emma was sitting next to me and Ina was there and just hugged us both. The moment couldn't have been better."

After claiming gold in a dominating performance all eyes were on the American as to what she might do in the road race. "I wanted to win, but again, I didn't know what to expect," said Dygert. "Ina gave us our master plan and it worked out perfectly to go 1-2 again."

On the second of four laps Dygert bridged with France's Juliette Labous to a two rider move containing teammate Emma White and Agnieszka Skalniak of Poland. The group didn't stay together long as Dygert's talent was again on display. "Originally I wasn't supposed to go when I did, I didn't attack I just kind of rode up 23rd faster than the other girls.

"Once I got up and saw the gap I waited for a bit because Ina told me not to go yet, but I just knew I had the legs to keep going, so I did, and I was able to solo it for the win!"

Approaching the line to claim her second world title solo by nearly a minute and a half was a special feeling for the young American. "Its pretty awesome," revealed Dygert who was full of praise to the entire team. "I'm just glad I had Emma take second both races and Ina there to help us get the podium spots!"

Crossing the line Dygert pointed to the USA on her jersey. "I didn't think I needed to do anything more than just show everyone what team won worlds! TEAM USA!"

When asked if winning on home soil made the victory more special "I'm not sure what it feels like to win in a different country so I don't know!"

The question of what is next is one that many fans are eagerly waiting, as she turns professional in 2016 with the Twenty16 team. "It'll be very exciting to turn professional. I can't wait to experience it with the fastest women's team in the US."

With reported interest from USA cycling in having Dygert test for the team pursuit on the track there is a chance she could be Rio bound. Though Dygert realises the difficulty of the challenge with less than a year to go. "I would love to get the chance to do it. I'll just have to work hard to learn!"
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