Phinney Crowned US National Time Trial Champion
BMC Racing Team's Taylor Phinney on Saturday won his second national time trial title in dominant fashion at the USA Cycling professional road championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Phinney's 51-second margin of victory over runner-up Tom Zirbel of Team Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies was the largest in the event since 2009. Phinney went 1:24 faster than third-placed David Williams (5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda) while adding to the national time trial title he won in 2010.
"I was surprisingly nervous today," Phinney explained. "I sort of felt like all I could do was lose. So I was really happy when I was out there and feeling good and feeling fast and getting positive time splits."
Phinney's win was his fourth of the season. In February, he won the stage 1 individual time trial of the Dubai Tour on the way to taking the overall victory. Last week, he soloed the final 25 kilometers to win stage 5 of this year's Amgen Tour of California.
"It is always a huge honor to come here and be able to win," Phinney told reporters in the finish zone. "I won four years ago, so to come back after missing nationals two years in a row is a special feeling."
Phinney led Zirbel by 13 seconds at the halfway point of the 30.9-kilometer race on two laps of an out-and-back course. That margin kept growing as BMC Racing Team sports director Max Sciandri relayed time splits from the car behind Phinney.
"Taylor took a little bit of a beating from (Bradley) Wiggins in the time trial in California," Sciandri explained and added "But it pushed him a little bit harder in training. He went straight home after the race, came out here a day early and then it was like a piece of a puzzle that falls into place. The pressure is off now that he has won it. We will let it sink in tonight and then tomorrow we start thinking about the road race."
Phinney will be joined by teammate Peter Stetina, who used to ride for Team Garmin-Sharp-POC, for Monday's 165.5-km national championship road race, which includes four ascents of Lookout Mountain. "I am relaxed now, this is a big weight off my shoulders," Phinney concluded. "Now I can go into Monday a little bit more relaxed and kind of take it easier, put the pressure on the other teams and just kind of follow wheels."