By Jessica McWhirt
Holy fireworks, Batman!
Leigh Ann Ganzar (Hagens Berman/Supermint) was first to attack, quickly stringing out the field, on Stage 2 of the Colorado Classic in Avon, Colorado. With 50.3 miles, 2 intermediate sprints and 1 QOM up a doozy of a climb, it was anyone’s guess who’d take the win.
As soon as Ganzar was reeled back, Lindsay Goldman (Hagens Berman/Supermint) put the hurt on, making sure no one was too comfortable. Then we saw Heather Fischer (DNA Pro Cycling) launch off the front of the peloton, quickly gaining a :15 gap on the main bunch. Ana Hernandez (Durango-Specialized-IED) wasn’t going to let her get away as she quickly bridged the gap to catch up to Fisher.
No one seemed to be able to make a stage-winning move as the peloton continually brought back riders.
With a crowd-funded $10,000 prime lap, the sprint winner won 50% of that cash purse and the other 50% was donated to the Chris Anthony Youth Initiative Project. At first, it looked like Allison Beveridge (Rally-UHC) was leading out Emma White (Rally-UHC) for the sprint, but Jennifer Valente (Sho-Air Twenty20) pulled around them and shot to the line for the intermediate sprint.
Another attack led by Heather Fischer (DNA Pro Cycling), Lindsay Goldman (Hagens Berman/Supermint), and Erica Clevenger (Sho-Air Twenty20) looked promising. The trio held a 1:00 gap until they were finally reeled back in by the peloton. As the gradient increased, riders dropped like flies, giving way to Omer Shapira (Canyon-SRAM), Brodie Chapman (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank), and Chloe Dygert-Owen (Sho-Air Twenty20).
The road continued to zigzag back and forth as Dygert-Owen passed Shapira and Chapman, making it look like they weren’t pedaling up a 13% grade. Chapman (TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank) squeaked out the QOM win, but the stage-winning move was made by Dygert-Owen (Sho-Air Twenty20) when she annihilated the descent, hitting 60 mph, no less. She created a significant gap between her and Chapman and just like yesterday, she crossed the finish solo.
In a post-race interview, Dygert-Owen said, “I’m definitely not a climber.” Well, Chloe, it’s safe to say that when you drop the entire peloton up a giant climb, you’re probably a climber.