AVON - Apparently, father does indeed know best.
Chloe Dygert-Owen arrived in Colorado only a couple of days before the start of the Colorado Classic and had no opportunity to ride the nasty climb at the heart of Friday’s queen stage. But,thanks to dad, the overall leader of the four-day pro cycling race got a thorough breakdown of what to expect.
“My dad drove it this morning and took notes,” the 22-year-old said. “Really descriptive notes.”
Dygert-Owen turned the collection of notes into a blueprint for winning the Colorado Classic. Sure, two days of racing remain, but nothing short of a cycling catastrophe could keep the Olympic silver medalist from taking home the prized yellow jersey.
“What a good dad you have!” defending champion Katie Hall said. “I know,” Dygert-Owen replied.
Credit dad for the intel. Credit daughter for the wherewithal to pull it off.
When Australian Brodie Chapman and Israeli Omer Shapira attacked early on the ascent, it appeared at first as though Dygert-Owen was content to let them go. After all, she held a 48-second edge over her closest pursuer coming into the stage — a pretty healthy lead considering the last two days of the race come on flat courses where it’s difficult to make up time.
But soon Dygert-Owen countered, leaving a chase group that included Hall before easily catching up to the leading pair. The five-time world champion reached the top of the climb inches behind Chapman and then pulled away on the technical descent.
Minutes later, the Sho-Air Twenty20 rider crossed the finish line, smiled and gently shook her fist, having secured her second victory in as many days. Chapman, who rides for TIBCO, finished 28 seconds behind and Shapira, of Canyon/SRAM, was 33 seconds back.
“Mad props to Chloe, who just reeled me in and there was nothing I could do about it,” Chapman said.
The overall lead now stands at 82 seconds over Chapman and 93 seconds over Shapira. Every other rider trails by at least two minutes.
Among those is Jenn Valente, a part-time student at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and an Olympic silver medalist in track cycling. But Valente couldn’t be any more pleased with her position, currently in 29th and 11:31 back, because she’s one of Dygert-Owen’s teammates.
Oh, and she also left Avon with a sweet pot of cash.
Valente won Friday’s bonus lap, also known as a prime, worth nearly $10,000. Half of the sum, which mostly was the result of crowd-sourcing, went to a nonprofit in the Vail Valley.
“The track training comes in handy setting up for sprints,” Valente said afterward. “Fortunately, like going into the prime on this one, a lot of the people at the front of the field at that point were actually track riders, which makes it easy because you kind of know people’s strengths and weaknesses.”
The race now moves to the Front Range with a 63.7-mile stage Saturday in Golden and a 52.8-mile stage Sunday in Denver.