Geelong, Australia (Oct. 1, 2010) – Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./Trek-Livestrong) became the first American to win a medal in the U23 road race at the UCI Road World Championships on Friday. In a rare occurrence Phinney tied for the bronze with Canadian Guillaume Boivin. Phinney is also the first U23 rider since Thomas Dekker (NED) in 2004 to win a medal in both the time trial and the road race.
With his third-place finish Phinney is the first U23 rider since Thomas Dekker (NED) in 2004 to win a medal in both the time trial and the road race.
Much to the massive crowd’s delight Michael Matthews of Australia won the final sprint ahead of John Degenkolb (GER) in a time of 4:01.23 at the conclusion of the 159-kilometer event. In an identical photo finish Phinney and Guillaume Boivin of Canada tied for third and will share in the bronze medal. Nearly 50 riders turned up the final 700-meter stretch to contest the sprint for the finish with Phinney among several of the favorites near the front. Matthews jumped on Phinney’s wheel and managed to surge to the line and win by a bike length.
“On this course we really couldn’t expect Taylor to do this, but he is a fighter.” said Pat Jonker USA Cycling’s U23 team director. “It is amazing how mature of a rider he is for only 20 years of age. I was certainly a victory for the entire team. Alex Howes and all the guys rode well for Taylor today.”
The race began in exciting fashion for the American team as Benjamin King (North Garden, Va./Trek-Livestrong) once again jumped out front nearly from the gun and grew a gap of nearly seven minutes halfway through the event. Unlike the recent USA Cycling Professional Championships, on the seventh of the 10, 16-kilometer laps King was caught by Italian Moreno Moser and soon fell back to the peloton. Moser held the solo lead for the next lap before being swallowed by the group.
“I did my job,” said King. “I got to lap five and I was feeling it. It wasn’t like Pro Champs; I didn’t have any time to recover on the descents.”
Following the race King was awarded the Tissot Timing Award which goes to the rider who led the race for the most laps.
Riding for their team and nation, Chris Butler (Hilton Head, S.C./BMC) and Alex Howes (Boulder, Colo./Felt-Holowesko) finished the race amongst the second group across the line in 58th and in 64th place respectively. Andrew Talansky (Napa, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms) and King were eventually forced to abandon and Carter Jones (Boulder, Colo./Jelly Belly) fell victim to an untimely mechanical mishap.
“Overall it was a great way to wrap up the season,” said Jonker. “After the team’s performance at L’Avenir and now this we’ve certainly been one of the most consistent nations in the world. With all the talent coming up I don’t see that changing any time soon.”
Saturday seven of America’s top female cyclists will represent their nation in the 127-kilometer elite women’s road race beginning at 1:00 p.m. local time.
U23 Men’s Road Race – 159-kilometers
1. Michael Matthews (AUS) 4:01.23
2. John Degenkolb (GER) st.
3. Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./Trek-Livestrong) st.
4. Guillaume Boivin (CAN) st.
58. Chris Butler (Hilton Head, S.C./BMC) +1:04
64. Alex Howes (Boulder, Colo./Felt-Holowesko) +2:22
DNF Benjamin King (North Garden, Va./Trek-Livestrong)
DNF Andrew Talansky (Napa, Calif./California Giant Berry Farms)
DNF Carter Jones (Boulder, Colo./Jelly Belly)