American Taylor Phinney (Boulder, CO/TIAA-CREF-5280) earned the United States its first-ever UCI Junior World Championship in the men's time trial in Aguascalientes, Mexico on August 9, while fellow country(wo)man Jerika Hutchinson (Mt. Shasta, CA) won the bronze medal in the women's race against the clock.
Phinney clocked a time of 37 minutes, 28.10 seconds over the 28-kilometer course to beat silver medalist John Degenkolb of Germany by 24 seconds. Averaging 44.68 kph, Phinney beat 50 of the world's best 17- and 18-year-old time trial specialists to earn the rainbow jersey. The course's one long climb per lap seemed to suit Phinney as he used the ascent to solidify his lead over his opponents.
In his first year as a junior, the 17-year-old's trip to the podium marked the first medal performance for an American male at the junior road world championships in 13 years when Deane Sandall won the silver medal in the time trial in Quito, Ecuador in 1994. It was also the first junior world championship on the road since 1991 when Jeff Evanshine won the road race title in Colorado Springs.
Phinney's world championship is the latest accomplishment for a family that defined success on the bike in the 1980s. His father Davis is one of the most recognizable names in the history of American cycling, as one of only three Americans to win multiple stages of the Tour de France and an Olympic bronze medal, while his mother, Connie Carpenter-Phinney, is the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the road race.
"This means a lot. It is definitely good for me to prove myself and not to just have a name that people recognize," said Taylor. "This is what I've dreamed about all season. I didn't really know if it was quite possible, but now its here. My legs felt great through that first lap, so coming around the second time I just tried to keep my speed up and cook it up the hill. Once I had three guys in my sight I knew I was doing pretty good."
In the women's contest, Hutchinson was just 26 seconds off the pace of world champion Josephine Tomic of Australia, earning her a third-place finish in the 14-kilometer time trial. Hutchinson, the USA Cycling National Time Trial Champion, sat in silver-medal position until the very last rider, Valeriya Kononenko of the Ukraine, eclipsed her time by a mere three seconds. Clocking a time of 21:04.61, Hutchinson gave the U.S. its best finish in the junior women's time trial world championships since Rebecca Much won the silver in 2004 in Bardolino, Italy.
"I was a little nervous today," said the 17-year-old Hutchinson who, like Phinney, has one more year of junior eligibility. "My goal was to come here and win. I lost some time on the descent, but overall I'm pleased. I want to come back and win next year."
Ben King (North Garden, VA/Hot Tubes), the only other American to contest the men's time trial, finished the event in 21st place with a time of 39:43.07. In his second trip to the UCI Junior World Championships, the USA Cycling National Road Race Champion is looking forward to joining forces with Phinney, Daniel Summerhill (Centennial, CO/TIAA-CREF-5280) and Nick Bax (Bethesda, Md./Hot Tubes) in Sunday's 130-kilometer road race.
Another 17-year-old, Sinead Miller (Pittsburgh, PA/UPMC), also had an impressive ride for the American team, placing 17th with a time of 22:21.13 in the women's contest. Miller is also looking ahead to Sunday when Lauren Shirock (Emmaus, PA/BMW-Bianchi) will join her to contest the women's 81-kilometer road race.
"After taking these young athletes to races all season and working with them at world championship preparation camps in Colorado Springs and high-level European races throughout the past few weeks, we knew they were strong and coming into form," said USA Cycling Junior National Team Coach, Benjamin Sharp. "This should build some confidence for our teams going into Sunday's road race. The week is not even over and we have shown that we can race with the best in the world."
2007 UCI Junior Road World Championships (August 4-12)
Men's Time Trial
1. Taylor Phinney (USA) 37:28.01
2. John Degenkolb (Ger) 37:52.93
3. Nikita Novikov (RUS) 37:58.86
21. Ben King (USA) 39:07.07
Women's Time Trial
1. Josephine Tomic (AUS) 20:38.15
2. Valeriya Kononenko (UKR) 21:01.28
3. Jerika Hutchinson (USA) 21:04.61
17. Sinead Miller (USA) 22:21.13
Complete results available at the official UCI website.
© BikeRadar & USA Cycling 2007