Taylor Phinney Wins US National Time Trial Championship
Taylor Phinney wins USA Cycling professional time trial national championship and is the new national champion.
Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colorado/Team Trek-Livestrong) became just the second athlete to win a USA Cycling professional time trial championship national title on Saturday. In what was the most exciting finish in the five year history of this event, Phinney edged Levi Leipheimer (Santa Rosa, California/Team RadioShack) by only 14 hundredths of a second.
"This is probably one of the biggest wins of my career," Phinney commented after crossing the finish line and added "I get to wear the jersey for the next full year - my first as a pro."
Phinney completed the 30.7-mile powerful, rolling course with a winning time of 00:41:02.51, just ahead of the surging Leipheimer who finished in 00:41:02.65. Bernard Vanulden (Belmont, California/Team Jelly Belly) grabbed the bronze in 00:42.14.97.
Phinney, son of 1991 pro road race national champion Davis Phinney and 1984 Olympic road race gold medalist Connie Carpenter, posted a course record opening lap time of 00:13.26.24; putting him a full 15 seconds ahead of Leipheimer. The 2007 Tour de France time trial stage winner, Leipheimer would not let the youngster away that easily however, closing the gap to within eight seconds heading into the final lap. Much to the crowd's delight, shortly after Phinney finished his third and final lap of the 6.9-mile course Leipheimer came charging into the finish chute posting a nearly identical time.
"It was crazy. To be honest I didn't think I had it when he crossed the line," said Phinney of the victory. "When I saw him coming I was pretty sure I didn't do enough. It was one of the longest 20 seconds of waiting in my life."
After defeating Leipheimer in the individual time trial stage of the recent Tour of Utah, Phinney solidified himself as one of the favorites in Greenville. A two-time individual pursuit world champion and former junior time trial world champion, Phinney held off Leipheimer with his time, but he wasn't able to eclipse four-time champion Dave Zabriskie's (Salt Lake City, Utah/Team Garmin-Transitions) course record of 39 minutes, 37.14 seconds set here last year. Strong winds undoubtedly played a factor with overall average times lower than that of 2009.
"No way I'm going to make an excuse," said Leipheimer at the post-race press conference. "Taylor was the biggest competitor here and everyone knew it. Taylor is used to starting fast. My advantage is the length, the experience, the pacing; those are the things I've got on my side. I tried to save a little for the end but I guess it wasn't enough."
Jelly Belly presented by Kenda put multiple riders inside the top five with Carter Jones (Boulder, Colorado/Team Jelly Belly) finishing fourth with a 42:17.15 in his professional debut. Team RadioShack's Matthew Busche (Las Cruces, New Mexico) was fifth in 00:43:20.65.