Chloe Dygert says not having a power meter on her bike gave her freedom to go full-on in her effort at the rain-soaked World Championships elite women’s time trial, where she delivered a crushing victory.
The 22-year-old American beat Dutch stars Anna van der Breggen and Annemiek van Vleuten to second and third place respectively, but more notable were the time gaps with which she won; an astonishing 1-32 over van der Breggen and 1-52 over two-time champion van Vleuten.
Dygert, who predominantly focuses on track racing along with some road racing in the USA, was riding only her third Worlds elite time trial, with a best result of fourth two years ago in Bergen, Norway.
She only returned to racing in April this year after suffering a concussion in the Tour of California 2018. She added she was surprised about how well she rode in Tuesday’s race, passing numerous riders along the course, but said not thinking about power numbers allowed her to simply ride as hard as she could.
“It was very surprising,” Dygert said of how strongly she rode. “You know, I think my biggest advantage was I didn’t ride with a power meter today.
“Earlier this year I did a race and it was just when I started to really kind of get my strength back. And I remember looking down at the power meter and thinking ‘I’m going out way too hard I need to back it off’ and so not having a power meter today, you know, not looking at those numbers and telling myself ‘hey, like back it off’, it was just kind of full gas from the beginning.
“I maybe went on a little too hot. You know, I was able to keep it going through the second half and just was able to pull it off.”
Despite her impressive performance, Dygert has no plans to yet race in Europe as she turns her focus to track events as well as the time trial at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. She admitted she regularly suffers with injuries, but will consider a potential move to racing in Europe once the Games are over.
“I have a lot of injuries all the time and that’s definitely a battle I feel like I’m gonna have to live with,” Dygert said.
“I would love to race in Europe, you know, but my goals are the time trial and doing track events. So as of now, I’m really focusing on those specifically.
“We’ll just have to see after Tokyo what I want to do the next year.”
As for the Dutch riders Van der Breggen and Van Vleuten, podium spots would not have been what either of them were targeting at the start of the day. However, Van der Breggen says the huge margin of Dygert’s victory means she will have fewer regrets about what she could have done differently if the gap was smaller.
“It has two sides: when it’s closer, I lost in Richmond [Worlds 2015] by two and a half seconds, I still remember so that feels really bad. I mean, then you can say if I did this corner better than it would be [different]. But that’s not the case today.
“I mean, it’s not that I could ride a bit faster and would have won. So that’s the good feeling of a big gap.
“On the other hand, I know there are more time trials coming up, important time trials, and of course, probably there is, say, a new concurrent and a really strong, strong rider.
“If you look in that perspective, it would have been better to have a sort of smaller gap as it makes the competition more exciting, I would say.
“So I think it’s good to see young riders are stepping up and Chloe did a great time trial today.”