Events

Phinney scores pursuit gold in L.A.

Seventeen-year-old Taylor Phinney can pen another page in his quickly growing book of cycling successes. Riding just the seventh individual pursuit of his career, the high school senior rode with the calculated panache of a veteran to grab his first-ever World Cup victory, defeating Dutchman Jenning Huizenga in a winning time of 4:26:09. “I just suffered through it. I think the person who can suffer the most wins this race,” Phinney said. “I didn’t expect to win when I was six or seven laps in.”

Reed Silver, Hammer Bronze in opening World Cup day

By Fred Dreier

Phinney poured it on when it counted

Phinney poured it on when it counted

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Seventeen-year-old Taylor Phinney can pen another page in his quickly growing book of cycling successes.

Riding just the seventh individual pursuit of his career, the high school senior rode with the calculated panache of a veteran to grab his first-ever World Cup victory, defeating Dutchman Jenning Huizenga in a winning time of 4:26:09.

“I just suffered through it. I think the person who can suffer the most wins this race,” Phinney said. “I didn’t expect to win when I was six or seven laps in.”

Indeed Phinney came into the finals ranked second — his qualifying ride of 4:25.68 was just a hair behind Huizenga’s 4:25.04. And midway through the 4000-meter final Phinney sat nearly a half-second behind the Dutchman. But the six-foot-three American, who rides for the Slipstream/Chipotle professional road and track squad, poured on the gas on the back half of the race to finish nearly one second up on Huizenga.

Phinney powers through to gold.

Phinney powers through to gold.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

“We talked about racing [finals] a little bit differently — he didn’t go out quite as hard,” said Neal Henderson, Phinney’s coach of two years. “When he was behind at the 1k he really closed that gap down in next to no time and put that much time into [Huizenga]. To be able to do that is huge — it’s the finals and all you have to do is win.”

Phinney, who is famous for his fast starts, admitted he consciously holstered his guns early in the race to preserve some firepower for later.

“I went with three to go — in Beijing I went with about five to go,” said Phinney, who finished fourth at the second round of the World Cup, held December 7-9 in Beijing China. “It was awesome having the whole place cheering for me. I thrive on of that kind of energy.”

The come-from-behind win sent shockwaves through the ADT Event’s Center velodrome at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Greeting the triumphant teenager at the finish line were his coaches, Henderson and Allen Lim, and his parents, American cycling greats Connie Carpenter-Phinney and Davis Phinney.

Along with Lim and Henderson, Phinney traveled to Los Angeles a week and a half early for some pre-race training at the World Cup venue. A native of Boulder, Colorado, Phinney spent most of the week leading up to the event spinning light taper miles for the event in hopes of qualifying for the 2008 U.S. Olympic squad.

At 17, Phinney may be on top of many a podium in years to come.

At 17, Phinney may be on top of many a podium in years to come.

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

“Mainly he’s been indoors doing really specific workouts on the trainer in Boulder,” Lim said. “A guy like him is just untapped. He can just do it. His performances are just a whole other notch above his competitor’s right now.”

Carpenter-Phinney, who rode pursuit in the 1980’s and won the Olympic road race gold medal in 1984, said her son’s winning ride was a testament to his tenacity as a rider.

“He’s a real competitor — he wanted to come in and be in the top two,” she said. “And when he got in the top two, he wasn’t going to be happy with second. That’s something you can’t teach a kid.”

Reed sprints to silver
Phinney’s win came after a successful day for United States track riders. Sprint veteran Jenny Reed (Momentum Cycling) clawed her way through heats of match sprints and into the semi finals, where she disposed of Frenchwoman Clara Sanchez two races to one in the best-of-three series.

Reed has her eye on Beijing

Reed has her eye on Beijing

Photo: Casey B. Gibson

Reed, the United States’ star in the women’s keirin, said she switched back to the sprint in preparation for Beijing. The keirin is not an Olympic event for women.

“It meant I had to focus more on my explosive power,” said Reed, a ten-year veteran of the United States track team. “I train with a bunch of guys now and I think I’m stronger and more motivated than I’ve ever been.”

Reed faced current World Cup champion Natallia Tsylinskaya of Belarus in the finals of the sprint. The American attempted to out-maneuver the Ukranian in the opening round and lost. In the second round, Reed tried to muscle her way past Tsylinskaya and suffered the same fate.

“The first round tactically I did everything I could — but she’s just stronger,” Reed admitted. “I’m really pleased.”

Hammer’s bronze
Reed grabbed the silver standard after reigning world pursuit champion Sarah Hammer earned bronze in the women’s pursuit. Hammer suffered through a disappointing qualifying round — she finished fourth, admitting her legs felt underpowered.

The third-place finish did pull Hammer into second overall in the World Cup standings behind Australian Katie Mactier. Taking the women’s pursuit was Ukrainian Lesya Kalitovska, who out rode Maria Calle Williams of Colombia in the finals.

Check back with VeloNews.com for news and updates from the 2008 Los Angeles UCI Track World Cup.

Race Notes

  • The team sprint finals boiled down to a battle between French and Australian teams. France’s national squad faced off against the French Cofidis team in the finals, with Cofidis taking the victory. The Australian national squad grabbed the bronze ahead of Team Toshiba’s trio of Australians Daniel Ellis, Shane Kelly and Scott Sunderland.

  • Australian Cameron Meyer (Toshiba) grabbed the men’s points race ahead of Rafal Ratajczyk of Poland and Chris Newton (Recycling.co.uk). Kiwi Greg Henderson finished fourth.

  • Noticeably absent from the World Cup are the powerhouse riders from Great Britain. Reigning pursuit world champion Bradley Wiggins and pursuit strongwoman Rebecca Romero took a pass on the race.

  • The Russian and Korean team sprint squads were involved in a scary crash during the fourth qualifying heat when a faulty starting gate failed to release Korea’s Sun Hyun Park. Sergey Polynskiy, the anchor of the Russian squad, sped into the stuck Park top speed. The crash destroyed both riders’ bikes and sent Polynskiy to the hospital with a wrist injury. Both teams were allowed to restart — Park rode with the Korean team to finish 13th. The Russians, aided by a replacement rider, finished fifth.

  • The U.S. women will field their first-ever women’s team pursuit for Sunday’s race. Reigning time-trial national champion and 2006 world champ Kristin Armstrong will head up the three-woman team alongside Lauren Franges and Christine King.

    Jenny Reed

    Jenny Reed

    Photo: Casey B. Gibson

    2008 Los Angeles UCI Track World Cup
    LDT Events Center Velodrome
    Carson, California

    Day 1

    Women’s Pursuit
    For Gold
    1. Lesya Kalitovska (Ukr) 3:39.92
    2. Maria Luisa Calle Williams (Col) 3:41.90

    For Bronze
    3. Sarah Hammer (USA), Ouch Pro Cycling, 3:38.00
    4. Lada Kozlikova (Cz), 3:40.76

    Men’s Points Race
    1. Cameron Meyer (Aus), Toshiba, 23 points
    2. Rafal Ratajczyk (Pl), 20
    3. Chris Newton (GB), Recycling.co.uk, 15
    4. Greg Henderson (NZ), 13
    5. Pim Lighthard (Nl), 13

    Women’s Sprint
    1. Natalllia Tsylinskaya (Blr)
    2. Jennie Reed (USA), Momentum Cycling
    3. Willy Kanis (Nl)
    4. Clara Sanchez (F)

    Men’s Pursuit
    1. Taylor Phinney (USA), Team Slipstream-Chipotle, 4:26.09
    2. Jenning Huizenga (Nl), 4:28.24
    3. Sergi Escobar (Sp), 4:34.5
    4. Antonio Tauler Llull (Sp), Illes Balears, 4:40.7

    Men’s Team Sprint
    1. Cofidis (Didier Henriette, Sireau Kevin, Arnaud Tournant), 9:44.49
    2. France (Gregory Bauge, Mickael Bourgain, François Pervis), 44.83
    3. Australia (Mark French, Ben Kersent, Jason Niblett), 45.24
    4. Toshiba (Daniel Ellis, Shane Kelly, Scott Sunderland) 45.33

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