Chloé Dygert sprints to victory on day two of this year's Ford RideLondon Classique
Chloé Dygert took the first European road race victory of her career at Stage Two of the 2023 Ford RideLondon Classique.
It was a tactical masterclass from the American’s Canyon//SRAM Racing team, which included Soraya Paladin who finished third in the final, nail-biting sprint in Maldon, Essex.
After finishing third on Friday’s (26 May) opening stage, British favourite Lizzie Deignan (Team Trek-Segafredo) climbed to the second spot today (27 May).
The final 15km of the 133.1km stage, which started and finished in Maldon, saw rush of attacking racing, with another Canyon//SRAM Racing rider, Maike van der Duin attacking what remained of the peloton late on in the day.
This meant other teams were forced to chase and the Dutch rider led into the final 400m on the short, sharp climb into town.
With both Paladin and Dygert in the group, which gave her team all the cards, Paladin briefly took the lead before Dygert launched her final sprint. Deignan was trapped between the two and unable to reach the front before the line.
Despite crashing late on, Stage One winner Charlotte Kool retains the overall lead ahead of the final stage through the streets of central London tomorrow. The DSM rider crashed 1200m from the line, but race regulations mean she finishes with the same time as the group she was with when the incident occurred.
For Dygert the victory is especially sweet as she returned to action only this month after years of illness and injury.
She said: “It’s been a long time coming for the team and we worked so hard together, we had a great plan going into today and a lot of options and I’m very happy to pull it off.
“It was super exciting, Maike was up the road so the other teams had to work to bring her back, and it led Soraya and I into that final climb just perfectly. Soraya led it up and I was able to just come around her for that last little bit and we were able to go one and three, so it was perfect.
“It’s been a long time coming but we worked so hard for this moment and I’m very thankful for everybody on the team, my personal team, my boyfriend, everybody, without them I wouldn’t be here.”
After her crash, Kool, who had a number of cuts and bruises but was sanguine, said: “I think in the middle of the group two girls just hit each other, I was in the middle and I couldn’t go anywhere, so it was really unlucky and I’m sorry that it happened in such a small bunch, but that’s racing.”
Despite the crash she is looking forward to the final stage, which starts and finishes on The Mall, especially after leading her then teammate Lorena Wiebes to victory in 2022.
She said: “I think I will just not think about any pain and go for it because I really love that finish and circuit, so we go one more day.
“Last year that was the stage that hurt a little in my heart not to sprint myself. For a sprinter it’s a really exciting finish in the middle of London so I’m really looking forward to sprinting there.”
The race began in aggressive style, a number of women trying to get clear of the bunch the moment the flag dropped just outside Maldon. After a couple of kilometres Karolina Karasiewicz (Torelli) attacked and got clear, however, with the day’s first intermediate sprint coming after only 7.8km she was not allowed any freedom and was caught on the line for the first intermediate sprint.
After Kool took the maximum bonus time at the sprint another rider got clear. Britain’s April Tacey from Team Lifeplus Wahoo headed into a headwind alone and soon had a lead of 1.45 with less than 20km ridden.
Tacey managed to gain a lead of over 2.30, but before she reached the day’s first Queen of the Mountains point at Wickham Bishops, 61km into the race, she was caught.
The bunch then stayed together onto the final circuit of which the peloton were to ride almost three complete laps. Soon after and as the roads narrowed, Tacey’s teammate Typhaine Laurance made a move and headed onto the first ascent of North Hill with a lead of 26 seconds. However, the Frenchwoman was unable to hold on the second ascent and was caught.
The third and final ascent saw the bunch explode ahead Van der Duin’s race defining move over the top.
Sunday’s final stage sees the Ford RideLondon Classique return to central London for 92km around some of the capital’s most iconic sights.
There are eight laps of 11.5km, the race starting and finishing on The Mall, in sight of Buckingham Palace, after which the 2023 winner will be crowned.