It felt like déjà vu watching Chloe Dygert (Sho-Air Twenty20) speed down an open road toward the finish line in the Colorado Classic on Friday.
As the 22-year-old cruised along the final four miles of Stage 2 in Avon, she kept glancing over her shoulder, but saw no one.
After handily winning Stage 1 in Steamboat Springs on Thursday, Dygert repeated Friday, winning the second stage and sweeping the majority of jerseys: the Gates Corporation Individual Race Leader, the FirstBank Sprint Leader, Colorado Tourism Office Queen of the Mountain and VF Corporation Best Young Rider.
Dygert also increased her general classification lead to 1 minute and 22 seconds. Brodie Chapman (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank), finished second on Friday, 28 seconds behind Dygert and set the tempo for the final lap.
How the race unfolded
She took racers on a steep slog up the switchbacks of Daybreak Ridge above Beaver Creek following seven fast laps through the town of Avon. Stage 2 totaled 50.3 miles, including 3,428 feet of climbing, 2,000 of which were up the final climb.
“It is consistently steep. It went a lot longer than I thought,” Chapman said. “I was like, ‘I’m almost there,’ and then I definitely wasn’t. In hindsight, I think I went a little too hard too early because I started to fade near the end. Mad props to Chloe who just reeled me in and there was nothing I could do about it.”
Chapman led the charge to the race’s high point and, sprinting neck-and-neck with Dygert, threw her front wheel at the QOM summit in an effort to get an edge on the race leader.
Dygert’s father had driven the course on Friday morning, providing her with detailed notes, whereas Chapman and other racers were only able to eyeball the course from afar.
“It’s really awesome having my dad out here,” said Dygert, who won silver in Team Pursuit at the 2016 Olympics and has won five World Championship gold medals. “It’s really special for him to go up there this morning and do that.”
It was Heather Fischer (DNA Pro Cycling) who set the pace out of the gate, pulling ahead of the peloton during the high-speed laps that preceded the climb, an effort that earned her the VF Corporation Most Badass Rider jersey.
Katie Hall of the US National Team, 2018 Colorado Classic champion, broke off of the group to chase the leaders in the final climb on Friday, earning the Audi Most Inspirational Rider jersey.
“It was a hard climb. I just couldn’t hang,” Hall said, adding that she was honored nonetheless to wear the jersey.
$10,000 Bonus Cash Lap
“I hope that we can inspire more ladies to ride bikes in any fashion that brings them joy,” Hall said. “It doesn’t need to be bike racing, but bike riding, even commuting, has brought a lot of joy into my life. I hope more people find that.”
The support for women’s cycling hit a benchmark Friday with the Bonus Cash Lap, also known as a prime, yielding an unprecedented total reaching nearly $10,000. Of this amount, $1,000 was contributed by the Colorado Classic, but the rest was crowd-sourced by supporters.
Dygert’s Sho-Air Twenty20 teammate Jenn Valente won the lap, splitting the sum with local nonprofit Chris Anthony Youth Initiative Project.
Next: Stage 3 – WATCH LIVE
The race moves to Golden for Stage 3 on Saturday, beginning at 11:30 a.m. from under the arch on Washington Avenue.
Riders will complete seven laps, including three sprints and one QOM, covering a total of 63.7 miles and climbing 4,639 feet. With two fast lap stages remaining, it will be difficult for riders to catch Dygert, but she pointed out that it’s not over until it’s over.
“There are still two hard days of racing left,” Dygert said. “It’s never set in stone. I have a good team, a solid team. We’re just going to work really hard to keep this jersey and see what we can do.”
Best viewing for Stage 3 will be from Washington Avenue in Golden at the start/finish between 12th and 13th and on 15th Street for the QOM. Those who can’t attend in person can watch live streaming coverage from start to finish and follow statistics and race progress by downloading Tour Tracker.
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