Dragoo already finding success in her second year as a pro

It hasn't taken long for Allie Dragoo to find herself contending for big wins as a pro

LOVELAND, Colo. (VN) — When she was in college, Allie Dragoo was nicknamed “Alley-oop” by her roommates. Sometimes, she was just called “oops.” When she was a young girl, Dragoo had a tendency to drop things, and so she could often be heard saying, “oopsies.”

“People think my last name is Oop and it’s not,” said the second-year Twenty16-Sho-Air rider. “But it’s okay. It doesn’t bother me. People say, ‘Is Oop really your last name?’ I’m like, ‘No.’”

Dragoo’s unique, roll-off-the-tongue Scandinavian name has also prompted a good bit of teasing.

“I hear about Ivan Drago being my cousin. I hear Dragu, Ragu sauce, Mr. Magoo,” said Dragoo. “I’ve heard every single thing. Even with Allie. I’ve heard Ally McBeal and alley cat.”

Dragoo’s heritage and the lyrical nature of her name aside, the 26-year-old is more concerned about her advancing career.

Dragoo began racing at eight years old. She’s excelled in BMX, track cycling, mountain biking, and cyclocross. She began competing in road racing while on a mountain bike scholarship at Lindsey Wilson College in Kentucky. She transferred to Marian University in Indiana and overhauled her cycling approach, in part by losing 50 pounds.

She transitioned into collegiate road cycling and then a pro career beginning in 2014. She’d won a half-dozen small road races, criteriums, and time trials, but her “breakthrough” victory occurred earlier this month at the Tour of Utah. Pedaling off the front of the peloton in a steady rain, Dragoo claimed a solo win on the event’s opening day.

“You know, when the weather conditions are poor, you can look around at the start line and see who’s quitting already,” said Dragoo. “And a lot of people are already done. I’m from the midwest and I’m used to the poor weather every once in a while like that.

“I just used it to my advantage. I countered a move. I would like to say I just didn’t look back, but on the video I did. I just kept it steady and it played to my advantage. I didn’t have to worry about anyone doing any weird braking in the rain, and it just worked out really well.”

In March, Dragoo decided to utilize a visual reminder of her Christian faith. She now wears a two-inch cross on the inside of her left forearm.

“When I am riding and suffering I just look down [at the cross] and say, ‘I’m not really suffering,’” said Dragoo. “I say to myself, ‘Grow up.’ Oh, not really grow up, but like harden up. I can’t wear a necklace. It gets in my hair. So, I just got a cute little tattoo.”

Dragoo began the USA Pro Challenge in fine form. As the 59th rider in the field of 64, she set a new best time in the opening time trial in Breckenridge before teammate Kristin Armstrong edged her by just .12 seconds to claim the opening stage.

In stage 2, Dragoo rode at the front as the split main field quickly absorbed early stage leaders Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) and Robin Farina (BMW-Happy Tooth). Dragoo finished fifth in the stage, trailing winner Tayler Wiles (DNA Cycling-K4) by 1:27.

“I’m learning, as my coach says, and he’s absolutely right, the hard way, and I will continue to,” said Dragoo. “But I am in good hands where I am. But it’s just simple things, like being in the wrong move, missing the break, just simple things, you know?”