Competing in his first-ever track race, 17-year-old Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./TIAA-CREF) captured a national title in the elite men's individual pursuit on Thursday as one of seven national champions crowned on Day Two of the USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships in Carson, California.
Phinney, a member of USA Cycling's junior development program whose list of accomplishments on the road this season include a junior world title in the time trial and an overall win at the Tour de l'Abitibi - arguably the most prestigious junior stage race in the world - earned the number-two seed in Thursday morning's qualifying session, clocking a time of 4 minutes, 35.550 seconds.
The performance set up a head-to-head match against top-seeded Brad Huff (Fair Grove, Mo./Slipstream) who posted a qualifying time of 4:34.976. In the ensuing gold medal final, Phinney rode to an early advantage in the 4-kilometer contest before falling off the pace and behind Huff midway through the race, however with a late-race surge, Phinney came back to beat Huff by over two seconds. In the final, Phinney rode a 4:38.413, while Huff recorded a 4:40.895.
With the fastest time in the qualifying round, Huff earned an automatic nomination to the 2008 USA Cycling Track Talent Pool by surpassing the time standard of 4:37.01, making him eligible for international competition during the 2007-08 season. Huff was already a coaches' selection to the Talent Pool, but his individual pursuit time on Thursday further anchored his spot on the roster.
Phinney's remarkable performance in his first-ever competitive individual pursuit also met USA Cycling's Talent Pool time standard, however as a 17-year-old he won't be eligible for the Talent Pool until January 1 when his racing age becomes 18.
In addition to Phinney's debut, another promising career on the track began in the women's 3-kilometer individual pursuit when Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif./Colavita-Sutter Home-Cooking Light) earned a national title in only her third-career track race.
After just six weeks on a track bike, Bausch clocked an impressive 3:44.354 in the morning's qualifying session to earn the top seed by nearly three seconds over Christen King (Huntington Beach, Calif./Young's Training). Both Bausch and King - who clocked a 3:47.026 - earned spots in the Talent Pool by surpassing the time standard of 3:49.12.
In the gold medal final, Bausch rode a 3:46.422 to claim the stars-and-stripes jersey by just one second over King.
Both newcomers to the sport of track cycling, Phinney and Bausch took advantage of a world-class support system to prepare for their respective national championship debuts this week. Phinney's natural talent comes from his parents whose father Davis is one of only three Americans to win multiple stages of the Tour de France and his mother Connie Carpenter-Phinney was the 1984 Olympic gold medalist in the road race. Bausch is currently the training partner of two-time world champion Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./Ouch Pro Cycling), who did not compete on Thursday. Both Phinney and Bausch are also the latest products of USA Cycling's efforts to expose some of the nation's top road cyclists to the velodrome.
In the men's event, Dan Harm (Seattle, Wash./Rubicon-Chinook) placed third with a win in the bronze-medal final over Mike Friedman (Pittsburgh, Pa./Slipstream). With a 17th-place finish in qualifying, Sam Jurekovic (Boulder, Colo./USA Cycling National Development Team), earned the U23 national title.
Angela Coggan (Ballwin, Mo.) earned third place in the women's pursuit with a win over Neva Day (Manhattan Beach, Calif./South Bay Wheelmen) in the consolation round. Julia Lafranchise (San Diego, Calif.) was the top U23 rider, earning a national title with a tenth-place overall effort.
Following her silver-medal performance in the pursuit, King came back later in the afternoon and claimed a national title in the women's scratch race. King escaped from the peloton with five laps remaining to win the stars-and-stripes jersey while Becky Quinn (Manhattan Beach, Calif./South Bay Wheelmen) won the field sprint for second place. Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Cedar Springs, Mich./Verducci-Breakaway), Cassandra Holman (Whittier, Calif./Home Depot Center) and Anna Lang (San Diego, Calif./SDBC-Karl Strauss) completed the five-woman podium respectively.
In the men's scratch race, Dave McCook (Mountain View, Calif./Priority Health) defended his title with a win over Cody O'Reilly (Santa Barbara, Calif./Kodak Gallery) in another mass sprint finish. Rounding out the podium in third through fifth were Steve Palaez (San Francisco, Calif./Adobe-Schwalbe), Curtis Gunn (Tucson, Ariz./Successful Living) and Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa./Toyota-United).
Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Wash./Momentum) claimed a national title in the women's keirin, outsprinting runner-up Liz Reap (Jim Thorpe, Pa./T-Town Express) to the line for the win. Cristin Walker (Houston Texas/Northwest Cycling) was third, while Cari Higgins (Boulder, Colo./Cody Racing) and Becky Lang (Paramount, Calif./Home Depot Center) finished fourth and fifth.
The 2007 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships will crown eight more national champions on Friday as finals of the elite and U23 men's and women's points race, and sprint will be determined.
2007 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships
Carson, CA October 3-6
Day Two Results:
1. Jennie Reed (Kirkland, Wash.)
2. Liz Reap (Jim Thorpe, Pa.)
3. Cristin Walker (Houston, Texas)*
4. Cari Higgins (Boulder, Colo.)
5. Becky Lang (Paramount, Calif.)
Men's Individual Pursuit
1. Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo.) 4:38.413
2. Brad Huff (Fair Grove, Mo.) 4:40.895
3. Mike Friedman (Pittsburgh, Pa.) 4:41.537
4. Dan Harm (Seattle, Wash.) 4:47.627
5. Tom Zirbel (Boulder, Colo.) 4:39.147
17. Sam Jurekovic (Colorado Springs, Colo.) 4:50.129*
Women's Individual Pursuit
1. Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif.) 3:46.422
2. Christen King (Huntington Beach, Calif.) 3:47.499
3. Angela Coggan (Ballwin, Mo.) 3:54.935
4. Neva Day (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) 3:55.215
5. Kele Murdin (Kenmore, Wash.) 3:58.501
10. Julia Lafranchise (San Diego, Calif.) 4:13.199*
Men's Scratch Race
1. Dave McCook (Mountain View, Calif.)
2. Cody O'Reilly (Santa Barbara, Calif.)
3. Steve Palaez (San Francisco, Calif.)
4. Curtis Gunn (Tucson, Ariz.)
5. Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa.)
Women's Scratch Race
1. Christen King (Huntington Beach, Calif.)
2. Becky Quinn (Manhattan Beach, Calif.)
3. Theresa Cliff-Ryan (Cedar Springs, Mich.)
4. Cassandra Holman (Whittier, Calif.)
5. Anna Lang (San Diego, Calif.)
*U23 National Champions
© BikeRadar & USA Cycling 2007