One month before he represents the United States in the 2008 Olympic Games, 18-year-old Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colorado.) earned a 3,000-metre individual pursuit junior world championship on Saturday, in Cape Town South Africa, as part of his final preparation for the Games. Meanwhile, joining Phinney on the medal stand was American Colleen Hayduk (Kutztown, Pa.), who earned a bronze medal in the scratch race.
Phinney, in South Africa as part of the U.S. National Team for the 2008 UCI Junior Road and Track World Championships, clocked a winning time of 3 minutes, 23.759 seconds in the gold medal final to beat Australian Dennis Rohan and secure his first world title in the event.
The current junior world record holder in the event, Phinney earned the number-one seed earlier in the day with a mark of 3:20.264 in the qualifying round to set up a head-to-head ride against Rohan for the rainbow jersey. In the finals, Phinney finished nearly four seconds ahead of Rohan to earn his second career junior world championship. He's also the defending champion in the time trial event on the road - a title he'll defend on Friday.
In the consolation matchup, Jason Christie (NZL) earned the bronze medal over Luke Durbridge (AUS).
For Phinney, his junior world title in the pursuit on Saturday continues a remarkable year which has seen him qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team as a 17-year-old after just five months of track racing. Recently, Phinney surpassed the world record with a mark of 3:16.589 at a USA Cycling team selection camp at the ADT Event Center velodrome in Los Angeles - a facility considered much faster than the track in Cape Town because of the wooden racing surface.
In Beijing, Phinney will compete in the 4,000-meter individual pursuit, the standard distance in the elite ranks.
Before defending his title in the time trial, Phinney will compete in two more events on the track - the points race on Sunday and the multi-event omnium competition on Wednesday.
Hayduk finished third in the scratch race behind Megan Dunn (AUS) and Gemma Dudley (AUS) to give the U.S. its second medal of the day.
Hayduk's trip to the podium came in her second event of the evening after finishing 11th in the 500-meter time trial. In that event, she recorded a time of 38.301 seconds while Kristina Vogel (GER) took home the gold medal with a mark of 35.905 ahead of silver medalist Victoria Baranova (RUS) and third-place finisher Olivia Montauban (FRA).
Like Phinney, Hayduk will contest multiple events on the track including the match sprint on Tuesday and the keirin on Wednesday.