Chloe Dygert Owen (Sho-Air Twenty 20) continued her domination of the Colorado Classic on stage 3 in Golden, attacking into the last lap of the 9.1-mile circuit and powering home for her third solo victory in three stages.
Dygert Owen launched from the peloton as it approached the lone QOM line of the day, up a short punchy climb in downtown Golden. She easily took maximum points, and when she looked back and saw she had a significant gap, she put her head down and kept charging. She was gone.
“It was kind of an on-the-fly decision,” Dygert Owen said. “I looked back and saw some heads hang so I said, ‘Let’s just keep this going for as long as I can.’ I knew Jenn [Valente] was back there getting ready for the sprint. I knew either way it was going to be a good day for us.”
Behind, panic was setting in for the peloton, as riders spread across the road trying to organize a cohesive chase.
“Nobody should give Chloe an inch, because she will keep going,” said Valente after the stage. “Chloe can do it all, and certainly that makes her a threat, especially in a race like this.”
Dygert Owen continued to pull away from the field, her lead growing to 30 seconds. Behind, the chase still lacked organization as the peloton spread from one side of the road to the other. Eventually, however, Dygert Owen’s lead slowly began to shrink.
Canyon-SRAM put two riders on the front of the chasing group, and the lead was down to 10 seconds with 5km to race. The peloton was strung out single-file as they streamed west toward Golden.
Dygert Owen kept charging, as Tibco took its turn on the front of the pack to try and pull back the lone leader. With 3km to go, her lead still hovered around 10 to 12 seconds.
“I had the radio on and the team just kept telling me to keep going,” Dygert Owen said. “There was tons of cheering [from roadside fans] and that’s really what kept me going. And seeing the 5k, 3k, 2k, 1k to go signs really helped, being a track rider and all.”
Entering Golden, Dygert Owen powered through the final left hand corner, the finish only hundreds of meters away. She crossed the line with enough time to celebrate as her teammate Jennifer Valente took the field sprint.
Dygert Owen increased her lead in the general classification and now leads by 1:36, and also holds the best sprinters jersey, the QOM jersey, and the best young rider jersey.
“It was really hard the whole day, and there was a lot of attrition,” said Dygert Owen’s teammate, Erica Clevenger. “Chloe saw an opportunity and she took it. The firepower wasn’t there anymore from any team in the bunch to bring her back in, because everyone was going for it the whole race. It was really hard the whole day.”
How the race unfolded
For the first several laps of the race, the peloton mostly rode together, while several riders tried in vain to establish the early breakaway. Then on lap 4, Tanja Erath (Canyon-SRAM) won the bonus cash lap in downtown Golden. That sparked a move from the peloton, and eventually six riders came together. The Sho-Air Twenty20 team of race leader Dygert Owen was having none of it, and soon shut down the move.
Suddenly, Lindsay Goldman (Hagesn Berman Supermint) and Brenna Wrye-Simpson (DNA Cycling) touched wheels and crashed. Both riders were stunned but quickly remounted their bikes and returned to racing.
The hesitation in the peloton allowed two Swapit-Agolico teammates—Andrea Ramirez and Anet Barrera—to move off the front of the pack, and they were soon joined by Olivia Baril (Fearless Femme). They had just 12 seconds through the start/finish line. By the top of the short climb on Washington St., their lead had vanished.
That sparked another attack of 10 riders who built a tenuous lead as they headed east along 32nd Avenue. Among the teams missing out was Rally UHC, which amassed at the front and pulled the breakaway back before the midpoint on the circuit.
Next, two-time individual pursuit world champion Rebecca Wiasak (Fearless Femme) and Silvia Valsecchi (Bepink) launched off the front and built the most significant lead of the day. By the end of lap 6, their lead was up to 45 seconds.
The pair worked together for the next lap to extend their lead, which swelled to 55 seconds at its largest. Meanwhile, in the peloton, Hagens Berman Supermint monitored the front of the group and managed the gap to the leaders. Entering the final lap, it was below 10 seconds.
Not long after, Dygert Owen launched her winning move, flashing up the right-hand side of the Washington St. climb.
Colorado Classic, stage 3
- Chloe Dygert Owen (Sho-Air Twenty 20), 2:27:45
- Jennifer Valente (Sho-Air Twenty 20), at 5 secs
- Rebecca Wiasak (Fearless Femme), s.t.
- Tanja Erath (Canyon-SRAM), s.t.
- Brodie Chapman (Tibco SVB), s.t.
- Lily Williams (Hagens Berman Supermint), s.t.
- Heather Fischer (DNA Cycling), s.t.
- Tatiana Guderzo (Bepink), s.t.
- Janelle Cole (Lux), s.t.
- Rachel Langdon (Fearless Femme), s.t.