American track specialist Taylor Phinney will lead a four-strong US team at the World Track Championships in Pruszkow, Poland this week. The 18-year-old Olympian will compete in the Individual Pursuit, Kilometre Time Trial, and Omnium, with Daniel Holloway and Colby Pearce listed in the Scratch and Madison. Shelly Olds will represent the women's team in the Points and Scratch events.
Speaking to Cyclingnews on the eve of the competition, a relaxed and confident Phinney was looking forward to the test. "The track is really fast. It's a bit like Manchester with its wide layout but it's good for pursuit. I've been doing 2K efforts from both a flying and standing start and today I'll do some 1K tests," he said.
Phinney flew to Poland, from the US, on Saturday to join his teammates, and with Olympic gold medallist and favourite, Bradley Wiggins (Garmin-Slipstream) turning his gaze to the road in 2009, the path could be clear for the Trek-Livestrong Under-23 rider to dominate after his US record-shattering performance at last month's World Cup in Copenhagen. Phinney clocked a time of 4:15.223 in the qualifying round, surpassing the previous mark of 4:19.800 set by Mariano Frederick in 1996, on his way to victory in the 4000m pursuit.
"If I can go as fast as I went in Copenhagen, I can win. There are a few good guys coming up so you never know what people can pull out on the day. With Wiggins not here it gives me a better chance. Last year I went to the Olympics knowing I was racing for second but now I know I'm in with a chance of winning. It's my chance to shine."
Despite its small numbers, the mood in the US team is good. "We have a good team and Daniel Holloway is a guy to watch out for in the future. He rides hard and takes chances so he could do something in the scratch [race]."
After the Worlds, Phinney will remain in Europe to compete in road races in Belgium, including the under-23 Tour of Flanders.