With multiple races every day from Sept. 20 to 27, we saw a plethora of rainbow jerseys awarded, bikes crashed and dreams crushed. A lot happens in a week on two wheels — more than a single article could possibly compile. So, we've trimmed all the excellence from this year's Road World Championship into five takeaways.
Cycling Is Not Dead in the U.S.1 of 6
Ask any one of the reported 645,000 spectators who attended this year's Road World Championship if cycling is a fringe sport in the U.S., and you'll likely get a boisterous "No!" The enormous number of spectators toppled the expected figure of 200,000. It wasn't Dutch Corner on Alp D'Huez, but the large packs were a welcome surprise. With two of the nation's most famous cyclists (Lance Armstrong and Floyd Landis) mired in controversy, it's clear Americans are far from disenchanted by the sport.
Peter Sagan Totally Rocks2 of 6
Peter Sagan, everyone's favorite green-jersey-wearer from the Tour de France, will also don the Rainbow jersey in every one of his 2016 races. Sagan won the elite men's road race when he broke away from the pack in the final, cobbled lap. Yes, there's a sliver of green in the rainbow, but we have a hunch Sagan enjoys the other colors, as well.
The First Nation's Rankings3 of 6
Days before the event, the UCI introduced their first official nation's ranking. Despite walking (riding) away from the Road World Championships sans a rainbow jersey, the Netherlands still topped the inaugural list. Three Dutch women placed in the top 20 in the elite women's field, which awarded the orange-clad riders a whopping 255 points. France and Australia rounded out the top three, with the U.S. placing fourth. This list should add another point of intrigue to an already intriguing sport.
Chloe Dygert Wins ... Twice4 of 6
The home crowd got two winners, but it so happened that the two winners were the same person. To quote the late Yogi Berra, in what seemed like d?j? vu all over again, Chloe Dygert stood on the podium and donned a rainbow jersey with teammate Emma White by her side not once but twice. Yes, the 18-year-old American won both the women's junior individual time trial and the women's junior road race, and White finished runner-up in both races.
Lizzie Armitstead Just Completed One of the Greatest Years Ever5 of 6
After her victory in Richmond, Lizzie Armitstead is the current reigning World, Commonwealth, and National champion, as well as the reigning two-time winner of the UCI World Cup. If this were horse racing, it's like winning the Triple Crown. If it were golf, it's like being Jordan Spieth. There's little doubt, after her tearful celebration at the finish line, that Lizzie Armitstead just completed one of the greatest years a professional cyclist has ever had.