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Inside the pursuit

The world championships began with an unscheduled event, early morning blood draw from the UCI. The Holiday Inn was targeted at an ungodly hour for our teenage son (7am!) and no doubt, no one else was happy either. In any case, the Brits, Aussies, Dutchies and USA team were all tested. Welcome to the big leagues. Luckily, Taylor exercised his prerogative as a teenager and went directly went back to sleep after a little breakfast, of course (another prerogative of the teenager?

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By Connie Carpenter

Taylor Phinney's qualifying ride

Taylor Phinney’s qualifying ride

Photo: Davis Phinney

The world championships began with an unscheduled event, early morning blood draw from the UCI. The Holiday Inn was targeted at an ungodly hour for our teenage son (7am!) and no doubt, no one else was happy either. In any case, the Brits, Aussies, Dutchies and USA team were all tested. Welcome to the big leagues. Luckily, Taylor exercised his prerogative as a teenager and went directly went back to sleep after a little breakfast, of course (another prerogative of the teenager? eating!). We filled the time before the ride (afternoon events started here at 3:30 p.m.), with card playing and joking and generally enjoying the calm before the storm.

Taylor Phinney at 6-foot-4

Taylor Phinney at 6-foot-4

Photo: Davis Phinney

Looking over the analysis of the split times, it was obvious that many riders were struggling and falling off the pace during their final kilometer. Mindful of that, Taylor left the start house a bit cautiously. He still had it in mind however to run a sub-4:20 when his previous best time was 4:24. However it was clear at the mid-point when he trailed the Spaniard Escobar by two seconds that perhaps he was not on his game. But he kept up the heat and eventually beat Escobar by almost 2 seconds at the end.

World track championships opening ceremony

World track championships opening ceremony

Photo: Davis Phinney

With a time of 4:22.358 Taylor had accomplished several key points — he had beaten many of the top ranked riders to hold his third place overall in the UCI world rankings. The top five go through to the Olympics. He set a personal best time by over two seconds, and surprisingly he set an unofficial Junior World Record of 3:17.523 (besting the old mark by .25) en route to his 4k time. While the officials were not sure if it was going to be official, they did send him to doping control just in case.

The gang of four going through to the finals included of course Bradley Wiggins, who was narrowly defeated by Dutchman Jenning Huizenga. Many coaches thought Wiggins looked vulnerable, but I assumed he backed off the last three laps because he could. He’s that good. Later Wiggins confided to Taylor that he’d been surprised by the strong ride of the Dutchman, his pair, in the qualifying.

Huizenga was fastest in qualifiers

Huizenga was fastest in qualifiers

Photo: Davis Phinney

Taylor asked Huizenga how he won the qualifying (“Dude, where did that come from?”) and he said emphatically, “I don’t know!?” It was a great ride.

With only a couple of hours between rides, it made sense to back off (if you could and only the current world champ could). Wiggins went on to destroy the Dutch rider in the final. No shame however in silver. In the always-tragic ride for third (tragic because one rider goes home with nothing), the unheralded New Zealand rider fell to the stronger Soviet, Markov. Both rides were decisive.

A great finish to the evening came when the French national anthem failed to play for the team sprint champions and the crowd had to hum the tune. It was a lovely moment and a great finale to an exciting evening!

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more coverage and a lot more energy. I’m torched — being the mother of the phenom is hard work.

Cheers.
Connie


Connie Carpenter is reporting from the Manchester world track championships for VeloNews. Her husband Davis Phinney — Taylor’s Dad — is providing photos. Please visit Taylor Phinney’s blog at www.taylorphinney.com and the family business at www.bikecamp.com

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