American Taylor Phinney added another world title to his growing list with a narrow victory in the men's under-23 time trial at the world road race cycling championships earlier today in Geelong, Australia.
In the first event of the five-day championships, two-time world individual pursuit champion Phinney took the gold medal in a winning time of 42min 50sec for two laps of a hilly 15.9km circuit.
Hosts Australia had a positive start with former world junior champion Luke Durbridge coming second to take the silver barely 2secs back, with German Marcel Kittel finishing third to take the bronze, 24secs behind the leader.
Phinney, the son of former cycling champions Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter, is expected to be one of the big names of the sport in the future.
After a string of national junior titles, he won the under-23 version of Paris-Roubaix, arguably the hardest one-day classic on the calendar, in 2009.
Later that year Phinney succeeded Britain's Bradley Wiggins as world individual pursuit champion on the track, a title he defended in Copenhagen earlier this year.
Having spent two years with Lance Armstrong's under-23 team, Phinney decided instead last week to sign for the BMC Pro Tour team.
Expected to coast to victory in the time trial, the newly-crowned American champion in the discipline explained: "That's not the best situation to be in.
It puts extra pressure on you.
"And it wasn't an easy course, especially for us big guys. I really had to dig deep."
Durbridge had set the early pace, the 19-year-old improving the best previous time by nearly three minutes when he completed the course in 42:52.
His time went unchallenged for the next 23 riders, but Phinney's later start may have made the difference.
"I heard Luke had gone out too fast in the first lap so I just tried to conserve myself over the first lap. In the second (lap) I gave it everything I had," added Phinney, 20.
Durbridge, who will wait another year before aiming to turn pro, could only watch in agony as Phinney beat him by just 1.9secs.
"I started to get pretty excited on the podium, then Taylor came through,"
said Durbridge, who has also earned his spurs on the track as a pursuit specialist.
"I went really hard on the first lap and near the end of the second when my coach was telling me to start giving it more, I didn't have anything left to give."
Kittel, who will start his pro career in Europe with Dutch squad Skil-Shimano in 2011, admitted the two climbs on the course gave everyone a challenge.
"It was a very tough course, and it's difficult to find your rhythm on the climbs, especially the second one. The last (six) kilometres are just pure pain."
© AFP 2010