Photo Credit: USA Cycling
On a rain-sodden day in Yorkshire, 22-year-old Chloé Dygert Owen from Brownsburg, IN blew the field away to take the 2019 UCI World Championship Individual Time Trial win. Over the technical 30km circuit Dygert Owen beat the rest of the field by a barely-believable minute and a half.
Records tumbled in her 42-minute ride, Dygert Owen becoming the youngest rider, male or female, to win an elite TT at the UCI World Championships. Her winning margin of 1 minute 32 seconds was the largest since the discipline’s first inclusion in 1994.
Following a concussion sustained at the 2018 Amgen Tour of California, Dygert Owen had taken an extended break. After missing last year’s Road World Championships and the entire track season, she only returned to racing in April. Speaking to VeloNews after the event she confirmed it was a ride into the unknown:
“I had no idea what to expect. This is my first time racing against these girls in Europe in two years, so it’s a really special moment.”
On a day of almost constant heavy rain, delaying the start while huge puddles were drained on the course, Dygert Owen was on a different level. She ripped passed 2014 champion Lisa Brennauer (Germany) within the first 12km, and did the same to seven more riders as she completed the course with an average speed of more than 43kph.
There were 19 riders still to finish, including the Dutch duo of Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten, hotly tipped to be scrapping for the win. But neither came close, both having to settle for the lower steps as Dygert Owen pulled on the rainbow jersey, adding to her junior road race and time trial titles from Richmond in 2015.
Speaking to Caley Fretz of CyclingTips, 2018 TT world champion van Vleuten made no excuses. “We need to be on top of our game to be close to her. Chloé Dygert [Owen] showed today that she was by far the best.”
Writing on Twitter, journalist Pat Malach called the ride ‘history in the making’. Meanwhile current men’s national champion Alex Dowsett, who knows all about the time trial scene in the UK, offered the greatest praise of all, hailing Dygert Owen’s ride as ‘perfection’.
This was the best TT in every aspect I’ve ever seen. As close to perfection out on the course as it gets. https://t.co/UJxkOFqJTt— Alex Dowsett (@alexdowsett) September 24, 2019
It’s a happy end to a yearlong plan. “This race was what we trained for all this year,” Dygert Owen told VeloNews. “We took the beginning of the season very slow, and of course that was very frustrating for me to not be at that top level I wanted to be at. But having Kristin [Armstrong, triple Olympic Gold medallist] as a coach, she knew what I had to do all year to be prepared for this race, and I totally trusted her.”