Winning the first two stages of the Colorado Classic wasn’t enough for 22-year-old Chloe Dygert on Saturday during Stage 3 in Golden.
As numerous racers attacked, breaking away only to be sucked back into the peloton, Dygert waited until just before the final lap to charge ahead and not only win her third straight stage but also handily maintain the leader jersey as well as Sprint, Queen of the Mountain and Best Young Rider jerseys.
“It was an on-the-fly decision,” Dygert said of her move. “I had that gap and I looked back and saw some heads hanging. Again I said, ‘OK, let’s keep this going for as long as I can.’ I knew either way we were going to have a solid day.”
Dygert completed the 63.7-mile Stage 3 circuit course in 2 hours, 27 minutes and 45 seconds as her Sho-Air Twenty20 teammate Jennifer Valente of Colorado Springs came in second across the finish line, 5 seconds back.
“Nobody should give Chloe an inch, because she will keep going,” Valente joked after the race.
How the race unfolded
Fearless Femme’s Rebecca Wiasak, who won Stage 1 of the 2018 Colorado Classic, took third in Stage 3 after a mid-race breakaway in which she led for two laps with only Silvia Valsecchi (BePink) on her wheel and the peloton as much as 50 seconds behind her.
“We wanted to make the race aggressive,” Wiasak said. “All my teammates had a go off the front at various times. The wind really picked up and it was really hard. I thought, these girls are just sitting in the bunch having a cruise-y ride and I’m dying. I thought when I was in the break, hopefully I’ll get the Badass jersey for this. If I can get to the climb with the lead group, I might have a chance of hanging on.”
Then Dygert came charging past.
“We kind of joked that Chloe might try the exact same move she’s done the last two days,” Wiasak said. “I thought if I had the legs and I hadn’t been at the front for two laps, I could have probably gone after her. I’m stoked to finish on the podium after such a tough day at the front.”
It was Wiasak’s teammate, Rachel Langdon (Fearless Femme), who launched the string of attacks on a day that saw average speeds of around 26 miles per hour, to win the Most Badass Jersey.
Ayesha McGowan (ALP Cycles Racing), who is working to become the first African-American female pro cyclist, also launched a solid attack mid-race and earned the Most Inspirational Jersey.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” McGowan said after the race. “It’s definitely the toughest race I’ve ever participated in and definitely the most elite race. It’s been phenomenal to be a part of it. I raced my heart out and the crowd today was insane.”
Up next and how to WATCH LIVE: Stage 4 in Denver
Dygert now has a 1 minute, 36-second race lead over Brodie Chapman (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) with Omer Shapira (Canyon-SRAM) 1:53.00 back and the rest of the field well over 2 minutes behind.
Racing wraps up Sunday with the grand finale in Denver. Stage 4 presented by Gates Corporation starts at 1:30 p.m. in front of Coors Field and will feature eight fast laps around downtown, up and down East 17th Avenue and around City Park for a total of 52.8 miles and 1,345 feet of climbing.
The 2019 Colorado Classic® presented by VF Corporation is the only 2.1 UCI-ranked women’s standalone pro road race in the Western Hemisphere.
Nearly 100 of the world’s best racers from 16 teams are competing in the four-stage race over challenging, iconic Colorado mountain and urban terrain Aug 22-25.
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