Taylor Phinney is back — in a big way. The BMC rider, whose professional career was in doubt after a traumatic crash two years ago at U.S. Pro nationals in Chattanooga, Tennessee, stormed to his third career national time trial championship Friday in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Phinney bested second-place finisher Tom Zirbel, of Rally, by 1:09.36 with a time of 1:02:46 on the 48km course. LottoNL – Jumbo’s Alexey Vermeulen was third, 1:12.14 back.
While the win was convincing, Phinney struggled with doubts throughout the hour-long time trial.
“Man, that was very hard,” Phinney said. “Anytime you’re doing an hour-long time trial it’s definitely a mental journey. I was going back and forth. Starting out I thought I was flying and then pretty much gave up on myself. And then I was like, ‘No, don’t do that,’ and I came back.”
Self-doubt aside, Phinney’s third national title positions him well for his main season goal: a spot on Team USA at the summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I wanted to come and win this,” said the 25-year-old Coloradan. “And not only win it but deliver a strong performance, and I think I did that today, so it’s a good stepping stone and it makes my chances even better for making [the Olympics].”
Carmen Small defeats pre-race favorite Armstrong
In the women’s race, Cervelo – Bigla’s Carmen Small stunned with a victory ahead of pre-race favorite Kristin Armstrong, who had to settle for third place. Bepink’s Amber Neben finished second, 22.7 seconds behind Small’s time of 42:32.
At the finish, Small was ecstatic.
“I just left it all out there,” Small explained. “The last 300 meters I wanted to die, but I had my coach in my ear saying, ‘Go, go, go! Every second counts.’ I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty happy right now. I worked really hard over the winter, mostly for road racing. I came out in the spring and really pushed for results to prove I belong on the [Rio Olympic] team. But I got to come home a few weeks early, so I had a chance to do some proper preparation for the time trial. And today it all paid off.”
The result was a surprise, with Small taking more than a minute out of pre-race favorite and two-time Olympic Gold medalist, Kristin Armstrong – who attributed her less than stellar performance to dizziness caused by North Carolina’s heat and humidity.
“The humidity was really hard for me today, and so my body just didn’t cool. I gave it everything I had, but it wasn’t my day.”
For Armstrong, who has spent the past year working to earn a return trip to the Summer Games, the day was a disappointment, but hopefully not a deal-breaker.
“The good news is it was not Rio today. It’s all about preparation. I was at the Tour of California last week, so my form is on. I don’t think there’s any doubt that those who were expected to win today weren’t on the top step, but the good news is that I’ve been consistent in all of my performances. I’ve been on the podium. I’ve been on the top step. So this is going to make me go back and really think about what I need to do before Rio, but I feel confident still. It’s two and a half months away. Amber and Carmen had better days, but I really came back for one day: August 10 [the Olympic time trial]. I’m looking forward to it.”
The remaining spots on Team USA will be selected via coaches’ pick on June 24.
- 1. Taylor Phinney, Bmc Racing Team, in 1:02:45.71
- 2. Thomas Zirbel, Rally Cycling, at 1:09.36
- 3. Alexey Vermeulen, Team Lotto Nl – Jumbo, at 1:12.14
- 4. Brent Bookwalter, Bmc Racing Team, at 1:35.48
- 5. Evan Huffman, Rally Cycling, at 1:51.55
- 6. Mac Brennan, Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team P/b Hincapie Racing, at 2:13.56
- 7. Benjamin Wolfe, Jelly Belly P/b Maxxis, at 2:32.82
- 8. David Williams, Astellas Cycling Team, at 2:47.94
- 9. Gregory Daniel, Axeon Hagens Berman, at 2:58.71
- 10. Eamon Franck, Astellas Cycling Team, at 3:40.45
- 11. Robin Carpenter, Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team P/b Hincapie Racing, at 3:40.84
- 12. Taylor Shelden, Jelly Belly P/b Maxxis, at 5:19.17
- 13. Michael Olheiser, Lupus Racing Team, at 5:49.07
- 14. Bryan Lewis, Lupus Racing Team, at 7:21.71
- 15. Julian Kyer, Elevate Pro Cycling Team, at 7:41.18
- 16. Cory Greenberg, Cylance-Cannondale Pro Cycling P/b Incycle, at 8:26.57
- DNF Johnathan Freter, Astellas Cycling Team
- DSQ Daniel Eaton, Unitedhealthcare
- DNS Joshua Berry, Jelly Belly P/b Maxxis
- DNS Brendan Rhim, Holowesko | Citadel Racing Team P/b Hincapie Racing
- 1. Carmen Small, Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team, in 0:42:32
- 2. Amber Neben, Bepink, at 0:22.70
- 3. Kristin Armstrong Savola, Twenty16 Ridebiker, at 1:08.56
- 4. Brianna Walle, Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank, at 1:31.46
- 5. Lauren Stephens, Team Tibco – Silicon Valley Bank, at 1:52.49
- 6. Evelyn Stevens, Boels Dolmans Cycling Team, at 1:53.02
- 7. Tayler Wiles, Orica-Ais, at 1:54.02
- 8. Chloe Dygert, Twenty16 Ridebiker, at 1:56.34
- 9. Julie Emmerman, Rally Sport Cycling Team, at 2:54.65
- 10. Leah Thomas, Twenty16 Ridebiker, at 3:02.89
- 11. Jessica Cutler, Colavita/bianchi Racing, at 3:13.13
- 12. Allie Dragoo, Twenty16 Ridebiker, at 3:31.77
- 13. Jessica Prinner, Rally Cycling, at 3:44.43
- 14. Kelly Catlin, Northstar Development Cycling, at 3:47.02
- 15. Gretchen Stumhofer, Colavita|bianchi, at 3:47.05
- 16. Whitney Allison, Colavita/bianchi Racing, at 4:04.75
- 17. Emma White, Rally Cycling, at 4:12.37
- 18. Sara Headley, at 4:23.36
- 19. Alison Tetrick, Cylance Pro Cycling Team, at 4:28.81
- 20. Beth Ann Orton, Visit Dallas Dna Pro Cycling, at 4:31.07
- 21. Stefanie Sydlik, Qcw Breakawaybikes.com P.b. Felt Bicycles-Jlvelo, at 4:32.72
- 22. Scotti Lechuga, Hagens Berman | Supermint Pro Cycling Team, at 4:36.11
- 23. Nina Laughlin, Visit Dallas Dna Pro Cycling, at 5:02.82
- 24. Cecilia Davishayes, Velo Classic Cycling P/b Stan’s Notubes, at 5:10.01
- 25. Tarah Cole, Qcw Breakawaybikes.com P.b. Felt Bicycles-Jlvelo, at 5:11.70
- 26. Kathryn Buss, Orthocarolina Winston Women’s Cycling, at 5:18.39
- 27. Amber Pierce, Vitalogic Astrokalb Radunion NÃÐ, at 5:21.39
- 28. Breanne Nalder, Visit Dallas Dna Pro Cycling, at 5:23.37
- 29. Heather Fischer, Rally Cycling, at 6:08.85
- 30. Jannalyn Luttrell, Happy Tooth Dental Professional Cycling, at 6:09.49
- 31. Ruth Winder, Usa National Team, at 6:09.57
- 32. Jennifer Tetrick, Twenty16 Ridebiker, at 6:37.93
- 33. Clio Dinan, Velo Classic Cycling P/b Stan’s Notubes, at 7:53.61
- 34. Alexis Ryan, Canyon Sram Racing, at 7:55.14
- 35. Sara Youmans, Monster Media Elite Women, at 7:56.93
- 36. Madison Kelly, Stradalli Cycles/papa John’s, at 8:03.05
- 37. Ashlyn Woods, Happy Tooth Dental Professional Cycling, at 8:45.56
- 38. Katherine Shields, Orthocarolina Winston Women’s Cycling, at 9:27.16