Chloe Dygert Owen celebrates on the podium after winning the Women's Elite Individual Time Trial at the 2019 UCI Road World Championships on Sept. 24, 2019 in Yorkshire, England.
Chloé Dygert Owen has arrived as a road cyclist.
Already an Olympic silver medalist and multi-time world champion as a track cyclist, Dygert Owen closed out a memorable week of racing with a fourth-place finish in the elite women’s road race at the UCI Road World Championships on Saturday in Yorkshire, England.
Just four days after becoming the youngest woman to win the women’s time trial world title — and doing so by a record margin — Dygert Owen made a strong push for the podium but didn’t have enough left in the tank to chase down Dutch star Annemiek van Vleuten during a thrilling conclusion to the final 20 kilometers of the race through the leafy English countryside.
Van Vleuten, the time trial winner at the last two world championships, quickly jumped out to an almost insurmountable lead, cracking the peloton early and distancing herself by more than 40 seconds on the course that wound between the villages of Bradford and Harrogate.
Dygert Owen, meanwhile, bided her time. The 22-year-old, who has won an Olympic silver medal in team pursuit in 2016 and five world titles on the track, embedded herself firmly in the chase pack from the beginning of the race and attacked with just under three laps remaining, leaving 2016 Olympic road race champion Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands drafting in her wake. It turned out to be too little, too early: despite the kick, Dygert was eventually caught and dropped by van der Breggen, who finished with the silver medal. Two-time Olympian Amanda Spratt of Australia completed the podium after taking silver in 2018.
As for van Vlueten, she rode her own race all the way to the finish line, cycling more than 100 kilometers of the 149-kilometer course on her own and unchallenged by the rest of a field that included 152 athletes representing 50 nations. All alone, the 36-year-old enjoyed the final kilometers of her race, playing to the crowd and cameras before crossing the line in 4:06:05.
Dygert Owen was 3:24 behind van Vleuten, and just under a minute off the podium. With her 10th place finish, Coryn Rivera gave Team USA two in the top 10.
Dygert Owen’s story doesn’t end with her fourth-place finish. As the winner of Tuesday’s time trial, Dygert Owen secured herself a berth to the Olympic Games. She also hopes to qualify again as a track cyclist.
Road cycling will be contested July 25-29 in Tokyo, with the July 26 women’s road race beginning in the tranquil Musashinonomori Park in western Tokyo and finishing at the ritzy Fuji Speedway circuit in full view of the mountain that gave the race course its name.
Blythe Lawrence is a journalist based in Seattle. She has covered two Olympic Games and is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.