By Bill Plock
Hopefully you noticed that Chloe Dygert won the world time trial championship yesterday (article HERE) in England more than confirming her dominance at the Colorado Classic in August “made sense”.
I have heard, and been part of discussions revolving around the topic that her dominance at the Colorado Classic casted doubt on the level of competition she faced. First of all, that is not really fair to her and the women that she raced against. There were plenty of very accomplished cyclists that raced with her and she worked hard, really hard.
No matter the narrative, it was and will be good for the Colorado Classic to have her as the first champion of the all women format. And to have her dominate like that is even better and here’s why.
The race now has a face, a distinct champion who will be competing in the Olympics. If all goes well, she will hopefully be returning to Colorado as a gold medalist. Fans who became familiar with her at the Colorado Classic can keep following her, can become true fans. Or perhaps they are fans of someone else and now they have a “villain”. Either way she is an anchor for the Colorado Classic–for now.
But as a first time women’s only event, that’s what it needs. If there had been multiple champions each day people would forget who won what. The race just wouldn’t be as memorable. Sure, maybe to hardcore cycling fans, looking for the most dynamic race possible, different champions, closer finishes, it would’ve been more interesting to them. But that’s not the majority of fans and spectators. Most people who watched the race didn’t really know who they were watching, they were caught up in the spectacle of it all. Yes, eventually, as people learn more about cycling and racing and strategies, more demand will be placed on the race to have the highest level of competition possible.
But if we are playing the long game, the Colorado Classic now has a very young champion with a very bright future as its shining star. Who wouldn’t be curious to check out the returning champion with a possible gold medal in tow that she won just a few weeks before next year’s Classic?
Think of the young girls watching the race this year who saw Chloe bust her butt to win each stage. She could’ve “sat in” on the last couple of days and still been overall champion pretty easily. But no, she dug even deeper and kept winning. Kept taking the Queen of the Mountain, kept beating everyone to the line.
She deserves that credit and next year when the Colorado Classic happens, all eyes will be on Chloe and perhaps some rising star will dig a little deeper, train a little harder and do everything possible to unseat her–and that is good for the Colorado Classic.
Like a good Hollywood movie, there is usually a hero and a villain. Let’s face it, professional sports is entertainment, otherwise there is nobody to watch it and no money to offer the athletes. The more entertaining the better, and I can’t wait see who will respond to Chloe and push her and the race to new levels.