Colorado Classic: Dygert Owen makes it a clean sweep in Denver
Dygert Owen powered to her fourth stage win and the overall victory on Sunday afternoon in Colorado’s capital city, attacking on the sixth of eight laps alongside Janelle Cole of the Lux-Flexential team. Dygert Owen and Cole worked together to draw out a 30-second gap on the women’s field until the final lap, when Dygert Owen struck out on her own.
She crossed the finish with an 11-second gap on Cole, with the field rumbling across the line 50 seconds later.
“Janelle attacked and nobody went for it, and and I thought, ‘why not?'” Dygert Owen said at the finish. “I went after it and nobody came. We rode really well for a lap, and then I didn’t really want to sprint at the end, so I attacked again and I was able to keep it.”
The stage victory capped off a week of domination for Dygert Owen, who took over the race lead on Thursday’s opening stage in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, after she attacked solo for the victory. Dygert Owen solidified her lead on Friday’s second stage—she followed an attack by Australian Brodie Chapman up the long climb up Daybreak Ridge Road, and then dropped Chapman on the descent for the stage victory.
Dygert Owen held a commanding lead in the overall heading into the final two stages—a hilly circuit race in Golden and a flat circuit in Denver—yet she still attacked and won both days, completing the sweep.
Chapman (Tibco-Silico Valley Bank), who finished second overall, said there was nothing she could have done differently to dethrone Dygert Owen.
“I came here slightly fatigued doing a 140 mile gravel race—that’s probably not a good excuse, and I reckon [Dygert Owen] would have still ridden away,” Chapman said. “She was super strong and I did my best and my team rode in defense of my place, and I’m happy with that,” Chapman said.
Throughout the week Dygert Owen has said the four-day racing block was an opportunity to gain important training miles before the UCI road world championships in Yorkshire. An Olympic medalist on the track, Dygert Owen is hoping to compete in her first UCI road worlds as an elite. She has yet to be named to USA Cycling’s team for the event, however the Colorado Classic victory places in her in strong contention to be named to the squad.
“I definitely came into this race not 100 percent fresh—I’ve been in Colorado Springs and racing on the track,” Dygert Owen said. “I just got back from Lima,Peru from Pan American Games, and everyone had a head cold and we’re all trying to get over that. I came into this race trying to make it as hard as possible, because if it wasn’t hard enough, [coach] Kristin [Armstrong] was going to make me train even more.”
The victory also marked an important return to road racing for Dygert Owen following the 2018 season, much of which she lost to injuries from crashes. Dygert Owen crashed during the 2018 Amgen Tour of California and suffered a head injury that sidelined her for months.
During the 2019 Tour of California, Dygert Owen said she still struggled with her nerves in the women’s peloton—a result of the nasty pileup from a year prior.
In Colorado, Dygert Owen said she had largely overcome her fears in the women’s pack, however there were moments that still gave her pause.
“It was really just trying not to think about it,” Dygert Owen said. “I had a strong team to keep me upright and help me stay at the front of the peloton. It’s all coming together now. It’s taken a long time. I’m not always comfortable but it’s getting better and better.”
Colorado Classic Stage 4
- Chloe Dygert Owen, Sho Air-Twenty20, 2:01:07
- Janelle Cold, Lux-Flexential, at 0:11
- Emma White, Rally-UHC, at 0:50
- Tanja Erath, Canyon-SRAM
- Lauren Stephens, Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank
- Holly Breck, Fearless Femme
- Jennifer Valente, Sho Air-Twenty20
- Heather Fischer, DNA Pro Cycling
- Rachel Langdon, Fearless Femme
- Lily Williams, Hagens Berman-Supermint, all at s.t.
Final General Clasification
- Chloe Dygert Owen, 8:55:06
- Brodie Chapman, Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank, at 2:37
- Omer Shapira, Canyon-SRAM, at 2:57
- Ella Harris, Canyon-SRAM, at 3:28
- Kristabel Doebel-Hickok, at 3:29
- Flavia Oliveira, Fearless Femme, at 3:52
- Lauren Stephens, Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank, at 3:55
- Katie Hall, USA Cycling, at 3:56
- Edwige Pitel, Cogeas-Mettler, at 4:15
- Whitney Allison-Schultz, Hagens Berman-Supermint, at 4:43