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Durango’s Lauren Aggeler comes from behind late to win Iron Horse women’s pro open road race

Aggeler passed Erin Osborne late to win
Lauren Aggeler crosses the finish line winning the 2024 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s professional road race on Saturday in Silverton. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

Erin Osborne thought she had it.

The 33-year-old Prescott, Arizona native was in the top group for most of the race and put a gap on the rest of the field on Coal Bank Pass.

She held the lead on the descent down Molas pass, until Durango’s Lauren Aggeler came out of nowhere and passed Osborne on the hairpin into Silverton and took the victory.

It’s Aggeler’s first Iron Horse professional/open road race victory in her sixth time competing in the legendary 47-mile road race. She crossed the finish line with a time of 2 hours, 36 minutes and 8.9 seconds.

“I had some high expectations going into it,” Aggeler said. “The hardest part for me was Coal Bank because that's when Erin Osborne took off and she kind of got out of my sight a little bit. I thought, ‘Oh, man, here we go.’ I just kept pushing through and had a really consistent pace and was able to make up some time on the downhill into Molas and had a really good time at Molas … I couldn’t be happier.”

Lauren Aggeler wins the 2024 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s pro road race on Saturday in Silverton. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

An emotional Aggeler was surrounded by friends and family for pictures and hugs shortly after she crossed the finish line.

Aggeler credited Kolben Preble with leading her the entire way down into Silverton and then was able to catch Osborne and sprint to the finish with her hurting legs.

The 20-year-old winner said the key moment was Shalona Hill. Aggeler said she knows that when the 19-34 men’s category catches the women the fast women go with them. So she held on to the wheel of the 19-34 men’s riders and stayed with them until Purgatory.

Aggeler said it’s important to stay with the lead group of women during that stage of the race because if she didn’t it’d be hard to come back from that.

“With Coal Bank and Molas, I know you don't want to blow yourself up on Coal Bank,” Aggeler said. “That's why I was conservative going up Coal Bank a little bit and knew if I pushed up Molas, I would have enough energy to be able to sustain.”

Next up for Aggeler is a trip to Europe to compete in multiple World Cup events.

Osborne crossed the line with a time of 2:36:21.3. She said it was a little heartbreaking to lose the way she did but thought Aggeler wanted it more than she did with it being Aggeler’s hometown event.

“I'm really happy with my performance,” Osborne said. “I pushed too hard on the climbs. I raced as smart as I could before all the climbs and we got mixed in with the men. So I noticed the other women weren't working as hard. So I thought, ‘Well, I'm not going to work as hard.’ I'm a little disappointed with the way it turned out. I had a good lead pretty much the whole race and got caught last hairpin corner and just didn't have the juice for the spirit finish.”

Osborne said as the men were passing toward the end of the race, they said Aggeler was a long way back. So it caught Osborne by surprise when Aggeler was right behind her after flying down after some great drafting.

The resilient Lauren Aggeler (center left) eclipses competition Erin Osborne on the final descent into Silverton during the 2024 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s professional road race on Saturday, May 15, 2024. (Stephen Jiron/Durango Herald)

The runner-up was happy with how she’s progressed in her four years racing in the pro women’s field. She finished fifth last year and is getting faster each year.

Osborne’s next event is Marathon Nationals on June 15.

Fort Lewis junior Michaela Thompson (2:44:26.4) finished third for the second consecutive year. She wasn’t super excited about her finish and thought she could’ve done better in her fourth Iron Horse pro/open women’s road race.

“I didn't really have the legs today,” Thompson said. “I found one speed and I was able to do that the whole day. So I switched my mindset around and just rode my own race. I was alone most of it and hung on to some guys at some points and stuff. I enjoyed the ride and stayed consistent. It was super fun.”

Durango's Michaela Thompson rides during the 2024 Iron Horse Bicycle Classic women’s professional road race on Saturday, May 15, 2024. (Stephen Jiron/Durango Herald)

Thompson said it was a mellow ride in a big, talkative group through the valley. Things sped up as the pack got to Shalona Hill and a big group of guys caught the women’s group. Thompson said she and the rest of the women’s group mixed it up with the guys as the pace increased.

Aggeler and Osborne were able to break away from Thompson around Glacial Club.

Next up for Thompson is the Pikes Peak APEX on June 7.

Last year’s winner Kira Payer and last year’s second-place finisher Sarah Sturm did not compete in this year’s women’s professional/open road race.

The riders in the women’s field had cloudy skies and a tail wind behind them for most of the race which they enjoyed.


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