Geelong, Australia (Sept. 29, 2010) – Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./Trek-Livestrong) added a U23 time trial world title to his resume on the opening day of the UCI Road World Championships in Australia on Wednesday. Twenty-year-old Phinney edged 19-year-old Luke Durbridge of Australia by a mere 1.9 seconds to earn his fifth ever cycling world title. Amber Neben (Irvine, Calif.) just missed her second time trial world championship medal, finishing fourth in the elite women’s contest.
“I’m very relieved. I did feel some pressure and I am so relieved I was able to get it done,” said Phinney. “I knew I had a good chance, but there is so much talent in the U23 field and it was such a hard course. I was in my smallest gear up that climb.”
Phinney earned the United States its second-ever U23 Time Trial World Title on Wednesday; the first coming from Danny Pate in 2001. Covering the 31.6-kilometer course in 42 minutes, 50.29 seconds, Phinney knocked hometown hero Luke Durbridge (AUS) out of the hot seat in the closest finish since 1999 when Australian Michael Rogers was piped by Jose Gutierrez of Spain. Durbridge held on to second place, with Marcel Kittel (GER) 22 seconds behind him to take home bronze to Germany.
“He was a favorite and there was pressure. For someone 20 years of age it is impressive how well he deals with it,” said Pat Jonker, USA Cycling’s U23 team director. “His ability to deal with pressure and expectations really sets him apart. He’s been working really hard since l’Avenir and he deserved to win.”
Andrew Talansky (Napa, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms) and Benjamin King (North Garden, Va./Trek-Livestrong) finished 15th and 16th of the 40 U23 men who completed the two laps of the 15.8-kilometer circuit around Geelong.
In the elite women’s time trial event Neben’s time of 33:26.10 was second best with only four riders remaining; however two of the final riders, Judith Arndt (GER) and Linda Melanie Villumsen (NZL), bumped the American veteran off the medal stand and forced her to settle for fourth for the second time at this event (2005).
“Obviously I wanted to win, but I really wanted to podium,” stated Neben, the 2008 world time trial champion. “Second and fourth are always tough positions. This season has been tough though, so the fact that I could come back and get to this level following the crash at the Giro (in July) is encouraging.”
American Evelyn Stevens (New York, N.Y./Columbia-HTC) also spent time in the hot seat, establishing the new best time mid-way through the 38-rider field. The 27-year-old banker turned cyclist completed an impressive sixth-place finish.
Four-time USA Cycling Professional Time Trial National Champion David Zabriskie (Salt Lake City, Utah/Garmin-Transitions) and Tejay Van Garderen (Fort Collins, Colo./Columbia-HTC) will contest the 45.6-kilometer version of time trial course on Thursday. Van Garderen is set to start at 3:06 p.m. local time, while Zabriskie is scheduled for 4:04 p.m.