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Abbott, Phinney share U.S. Athletes of the Year award

The accolades continue to pour in for two of the United States’ biggest names in 2010. USA Cycling announced Thursday that Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong) and Mara Abbott (Peanut Butter & Co.-Twenty12) have earned the inaugural Athlete of the Year awards.

The national federation has, in conjunction with the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame, recognized Abbott and Phinney as the first ever Athletes of the Year. “USA Cycling is proud to partner with the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame to recognize the outstanding achievements of developing athletes in Olympic cycling disciplines,” said federation CEO Steve Johnson. “It is an honor to recognize these two athletes whose achievements have helped illustrate our continued commitment to develop the future of American cycling.”

Phinney earlier this month won the U23 time trial world championship to cap off a season that included the U.S. professional TT title, a second consecutive win at Paris-Roubaix espoirs and the overall at the Olympias Tour. Phinney will join BMC Racing and worlds team director Mike Sayers for his neo-pro season in 2011.

Abbott won two stages at the Tour de l’Aude before earning her second road race national title in late June. Two weeks later the young climber took the queen stage and overall title at the Giro Donne, considered the most difficult women’s stage race in the world. Abbott will join Italian squad Safi-Pasta Zara next year.

“It’s pretty humbling and pretty cool,” Phinney told VeloNews. “It’s definitely not something I was expecting with all the guys we have in the U.S. doing so well right now on the ProTour circuit. It’s cool to have them there in my corner and believing in me.”

The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Saturday, October 30. The Hall will welcome four new members at the dinner: 17-time national champion Mike McCarthy, former USAC board member Dottie Saling, BMX great Gary Ellis and 1882 highwheel national champ and Indian Motorcycles founder George Mallory Hendee.

Abbott was not immediately available for comment.

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