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Anna van der Breggen wins dramatic worlds time trial as Chloe Dygert crashes out while leading (+ video)

USA's defending champion seemed set to retain her crown in Imola before crashing over barrier...

Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands, four times a silver medallist in the time trial at the UCI Road World Championships, has won the rainbow jersey at Imola today in dramatic circumstances as defending champion Chloe Dygert of the USA crashed over a roadside guardrail as she seemed set to retain her title.

Dygert, the red-hot favourite, dominated today's race just as she had done in Harrogate 12 months ago.

The 23 year old had a lead of almost half a minute on her closest rival at the intermediate time check on the 31.7km course that started and finished at the Imola motor racing circuit in Italy's Emilia Romagna region.

However, coming into a right hand bend on a descent her bike started weaving across the road, possibly as the result of a slippery surface or a front puncture, and after wrestling to keep control she was thrown over the barrier to the left hand side of the road and onto a grass slope on the other side.

She did not remount, and the USA Cycling has since reported that she is "conscious and talking."

Van der Breggen, aged 30, won the world championship road race in 2018 and has been runner-up in the time trial in four out of the past five years, including 12 months ago in Yorkshire.

Today, a storming second half of the ride saw her put in a time of 40 minutes 20 seconds to take the rainbow jersey from Switzerland's Marlen Reusser by 15.58 seconds, with a second Dutch rider, Ellen van Dijk, winner of the event in 2013, taking bronze, 31.46 seconds behind her compatriot.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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