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America's Dygert-Owen crushes competition to first elite women's time trial World Championships title

Joe Robinson
24 Sep 2019

Van Vleuten only good enough for third as young American proves class above

America's Chloe Dygert-Owen obliterated the rest of the elite women's field to be crowned time trial World Champion. The 22-year-old from Indiana proved a class above, completing the 32km course in a time of 42 minutes 11 seconds, beating Anna van der Breggen into second by a margin of 1 minute 32 seconds.

Two-time defending champion Annemiek van Vleuten could only manage third on the day, finishing a further 20 seconds adrift.

From start to finish, Dygert-Owen proved untouchable, setting the fastest time at every split on course, crossing the line with an average speed 1.5kmh faster than her closest rival.

Dygert-Owen's 92-second winning margin is also the biggest time gap in a World Championships time trial since its inception in 1994.

How Dygert dominated

Torrential rain earlier in the day saw the start of the elite women's time trial pushed back from 14:45 to 15:30 and the gaps in between riders reduced to 60 seconds instead of 90.

Organisers used the extra time to remove much of the standing water that had affected the under 23 men's time trial earlier in the day, with those riders having tackled the same 32km course from Ripon to Harrogate.

While it saw many of the large puddles removed, the general road surface remained slippery causing an afternoon of nervous racing.

The bravest and strongest of the earliest riders was Alena Amialiusik of Belarus. She set an initial benchmark of 45 minutes 29 seconds, a good time but never good enough to trouble the podium.

Of the early times at the 14.2km checkpoint, one rider stood out from the rest and that was Dygert. The 22-year-old had already caught minute-rider Lisa Brennauer and set a monumental split time of 18 minutes 57 seconds.

Before long, Dygert had caught her seven-minute woman in a statement of intent: she was here to break van Vleuten's World Championships time trial dominance.

By the same split, Van Vleuten had already lost 70 seconds on Dygert-Owen, an unassailable margin that had the American basically guaranteed of the rainbow jersey despite over 20 riders still being out on course.

The young American was proving her class and announcing a change of the time trialling guard. 

The difference seemed to be Dygert-Owen's unanswerable power, superior bike handling and ability to stay aero for longer. A combination that the experience Van Vleuten and Van der Breggen had no answer to.