Dygert shines as rain mars UCI Road World Championships

Cycling at the Olympics (Getty Images)
Cycling at the Olympics (Getty Images)

Harrogate - The US's Chloe Dygert lifted the gloom around the UCI Road World Championships with her victory in the elite women's time trial following controversy after the men's under-23 time trial went ahead despite terrible weather.

As torrential rain fell and roads flooded in Harrogate, two riders in the men's event suffered dramatic crashes directly caused by the conditions.

Denmark's European champion Johan Price-Pejtersen saw his hopes of victory ended when he rode around a bend and into a deep trench of water which sent him flying from his bike.

Hungary's Attila Valter looked like he was riding a water slide when he came off on a descent and went careering down the road.

The women's elite time trial was delayed by 40 minutes as water was siphoned from the road but conditions improved through the afternoon following fears the event may be postponed.

When it did take place, Dygert obliterated the rest of the competition, winning by one minute 32.35 seconds from Olympic road race champion Anna Van Der Breggen - the biggest winning margin for a woman or man since the time trial was added to the world championships in 1994.

Dygert's ride will live long in the memory, but so too will the appalling conditions which struck the under-23 men's race earlier in the day.

Price-Pejtersen began the day as one of the favourites as European champion but finished last following his spill.

The race was won by Price-Pejtersen's compatriot Mikkel Bjerg, who took the title for a third consecutive year.

"I think it was a bit extreme," the Dane said. "In my opinion I think they should have cancelled it for a bit, until at least the pools (of water) had gone and the rain had stopped being so extreme."

A UCI statement said "The UCI and Yorkshire 2019 will continue to monitor closely the events and take any appropriate decisions."

Dygert is a multiple world champion on the track and last year smashed the individual pursuit world record, but has spent comparatively little time racing on the road since winning the junior road race and time trial at the 2015 world championships in Richmond, Virginia.

This year she became the American time trial champion and then showed her strength by winning all four stages of the Colorado Classic, but even so this ride was a surprise.

"It's always special to wear the stripes," said Dygert, who joked she is no stranger to such conditions as a resident of America's Pacific northwest.

"This is everybody's goal and I'm super thankful to everyone who believed in me on my very bad days to get me to this spot."

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