Phinney stuns Leipheimer to win US time trial title

Fractions of a second separate top two, Van Ulden third

With a winning margin of just 14 hundredths of a second, Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong) became the first rider other than David Zabriskie to be named USA Cycling pro time trial champion.

Phinney narrowly edged out Team RadioShack's Levi Leipheimer on Saturday for the honour, which was first awarded in 2006. "This is probably one of the biggest wins in my career because it's an elite national championship," said Phinney the two-time world pursuit champion.

"Anytime you win as an Under 23 it's great but it’s not the real deal. This is a jersey that I get to wear for the next year and in my first year as a pro and I'm very excited about that. It's up there with my world championship wins on the track for sure."

The 20-year-old conquered the 33.3km course in a time of 41:02, beating Leipheimer (RadioShack) by a mere 0.14 of a second and third placed Bernard van Ulden (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) by an additional 1:12 minutes.

"I really gave it everything I had because I’ve been the guy who's lost by 0.1 seconds so I was glad I came out on top of that," Phinney said. "It was difficult but hats off to Levi. I was just happy to be up there and even close to where he is time trialling because he's one of the best time triallists in the world."

Phinney crossed the line with the fastest time of the day as Leipheimer rounded his last lap in a forceful effort to reduce a 15-second deficit after the first lap. He closed down most of the gap, but did not have enough to surpass Phinney for the national title.

"You could count a hundred places where I lost 0.14 of a second but anybody can do that, Taylor can do that and Bernard can do that," Leipheimer said. "It'll just take some time to get over the disappointment. Sometimes it's good to have a stinging defeat like that. Sometimes you need it to kick it in gear and remotivate yourself. I guess I’m just looking on the bright side."

"It is not the first time that I've lost by 0.14 of a second," he said regarding a second place in the Dauphine Libere time trial in 2005. "I lost an hour-long time trial by 0.14, but I also took the yellow jersey that day and that was a little bit of compensation. Today I get nothing, nothing but 41 minutes of pain."

For a full report and more pictures, visit www.cyclingnews.com.

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