Zdenek Stybar congratulated newly minted world...

2015 Velo Awards: Richmond worlds

Not surprisingly, Richmond was the venue for several awards-worthy performances, from sportsmanship to breakthrough results.

Sportsmanship: Men’s peloton after worlds elite road race

The professional peloton can be a harsh place, often fractured by personal, professional, and national rivalries — not to mention petty jealousies.

Not so at Richmond worlds.

When Peter Sagan rolled to a triumphant stop and turned back toward the finish line, his freshly vanquished rivals began spontaneously high-fiving him as they rolled past. Among the first to do so was Tom Boonen, whose smile was as big as Sagan’s. Pre-race favorite Zdenek Stybar even leaned in for a full hug while still on his bike.

Their shared affection was the perfect feel-good conclusion to a ride for the ages.

Breakthrough Performance of the Year: Chloe Dygert

Winning the junior women’s time trial at Richmond worlds, even by over a minute — in a roughly 20-minute event — wouldn’t be enough to earn a breakthrough-of-the-year award. It wasn’t enough for Chloé Dygert, either. Days after her TT win, she escaped a four-woman breakaway in the final lap of the road race and soloed to the victory for her second worlds’ gold medal of the week. The 18-year-old from Brownsburg, Indiana, who is engaged to U23 star Logan Owen, already rides with the power of an elite woman and, despite her age, was recently tested for a potential slot on the women’s team pursuit squad for the Rio Olympics next summer.

Route of the Year, Honorable Mention: Richmond worlds

On paper, Richmond seemed like an odd choice to host the UCI World Road Championships. But the Virginia city proved it could produce a top-notch course through its urban center. From the cobbled steeps of Libby Hill and 23rd Street to the grinding climb up Governor Street, the ever-twisting course brought about dramatic racing, with the patient victory of Peter Sagan capping off a week of spectacular theater.