Chloe Dygert claimed the USA’s first gold medal at the World Championships as she took a convincing victory in the junior women’s time trial on Monday in Richmond, Virginia. Dygert’s compatriot Emma White secured the home nation a 1-2, finishing 1:06 behind with the silver medal. Anna-Leeza Hull (Australia) repeated her performance of last year and claimed the bronze medal once again.
It was the first World Championship for Dygert, who spent last year recuperating from a torn ACL - the result of her love of playing basketball aggressively - but she handled the pressure and the post-race celebration in an unusually calm manner, simply saying she enjoyed the experience.
"I felt OK. This is my first hard effort in a while, I've been sick, so I didn't know what to expect," Dygert said to Cyclingnews. "I'm happy with what I was able to do.
"It was a miserable ride, but I did it. I couldn't have done it without all the support from my friends and family. It was more of a mental thing of being sick and not being able to do well. The support got me to where I was today."
Dygert had the advantage of starting early on a day where the wind picked up throughout the morning, but her margin of victory was such that the conditions made little difference. "I'm a power climber, so the short bursts of wind - I was able to pull through those. I had a radio piece in for Ina [Teutenberg] in the car, and ear plug to block the wind - if I can't hear it, [I think] mentally blocking that out makes me forget about the wind.
"Having Ina back in the car was a big help. She told me when to stay in the aero bars in a turn, what's coming up next, watch out for that pothole, we memorized the course. It was really nice to have her back there, she's a huge inspiration and she knows everything there is to know about cycling."
Dygert, was one of the earlier starters coming down the ramp eighth of 37 starters. She blasted around the 15-kilometre course in a time of 20:18:47, smashing the previous best time set by Gillian Ellsay by 1:45. The 18-year-old from Indiana would then have a long wait until she would be confirmed as the new world champion. While former winner Macey Stewart wouldn’t be racing, last year’s medallists Pernille Mathiesen (Denmark) and Hull were present and it would be a tense wait.
With all of the riders having passed through the first intermediate check, Dygert’s victory looked more secure. Second placed, White could only manage to get within 12 seconds of her teammate at the intermediate check but that had expanded to over a minute by the finish line.
White, fifth in last year's world championships, was thrilled to close out her junior career with a silver medal and give her country its third medal of the Worlds. "It's amazing and it feels even better to know my teammate was first. It's a really successful day," White said.
"I've been working really hard this season. I was fifth last year and I was hoping to move up. It's not real until it actually happens, so I'm really happy today.
I think it was a perfect course. It challenged strength and bike handling. It really showed the true strength of a rider.
Australia's Hull had a bad start and set only the seventh fastest time just before the halfway point but rallied and climbed the rankings to third by the finish line.
Last year’s silver medallist Mathiesen was one of the pre-race favourites. She came out quickly and went through the intermediate check in third place but Hull’s late surge proved enough to deny her a medal in the end. France’s Juliette Labous completed the top five, finishing 1:35 behind Dygert.
The Australian told Cyclingnews that while the first half of the course didn't suit her, the second half was the place where she could make up time. "I loved the end, the technical section and the hill really suited me," Hull said. "I had to bring it home, and I knew that's where I'd make up a lot of time if I wanted to podium.
"I worked really hard, coming into this race is probably the best-ever preparation I've had in handling my performance anxiety, I couldn't be happier with today."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Chloe Dygert (United States of America)||0:20:18|
|2||Emma White (United States of America)||0:01:06|
|3||Anna-Leeza Hull (Australia)||0:01:26|
|4||Pernille Mathiesen (Denmark)||0:01:30|
|5||Juliette Labous (France)||0:01:36|
|6||Aafke Soet (Netherlands)||0:01:41|
|7||Daria Pikulik (Poland)|
|8||Gillian Ellsay (Canada)||0:01:45|
|9||Agnieszka Skalniak (Poland)||0:01:47|
|10||Emeliah Harvie (Canada)||0:01:49|
|11||Yumi Kajihara (Japan)||0:01:54|
|12||Camila Valbuena (Colombia)||0:01:56|
|13||Natalia Studenikina (Russian Federation)||0:02:02|
|14||Yara Kastelijn (Netherlands)|
|15||Nikola Noskova (Czech Republic)||0:02:03|
|16||Aline Seitz (Switzerland)||0:02:05|
|17||Lisa Morzenti (Italy)||0:02:07|
|18||Marion Borras (France)||0:02:13|
|19||Susanne Andersen (Norway)|
|20||Ida Jansson (Sweden)||0:02:14|
|21||Kseniia Tcymbaliuk (Russia)|
|22||Sofia Bertizzolo (Italy)||0:02:22|
|23||Abby-Mae Parkinson (Great Britain)|
|24||Georgia Catterick (Australia)||0:02:27|
|25||Frida Knutsson (Sweden)||0:02:30|
|26||Ema Manikaite (Lithuania)||0:02:34|
|27||Maria Eva Palm (Belgium)||0:02:39|
|28||Ciara Doogan (Ireland)||0:02:46|
|29||Maria Calderon (Spain)||0:03:02|
|30||Nathalie Bex (Belgium)||0:03:03|
|31||Elizabeth Holden (Great Britain)||0:03:06|
|32||Ingvild Gaskjenn (Norway)||0:03:07|
|33||Ana Suarez (Ecuador)||0:03:42|
|34||Teresa Ripoll (Spain)||0:04:14|
|35||Diana Ramos (Puerto Rico)||0:04:35|
|36||Helen Mitchell (Zimbabwe)||0:05:00|
|37||Christa Riffel (Germany)||0:05:22|