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COPENHAGEN (VN) – With Dave Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer staying home, two rookies will carry U.S. hopes into Wednesday’s world championship time trial on a flat power course where wind and rain could prove decisive.
Zabriskie and Leipheimer are two of America’s most consistent time trialists, but both elected to skip the worlds. Zabriskie is still not back in top shape following his crash during July’s Tour de France while Leipheimer, a bronze medalist in the Beijing Olympic Games TT, has pulled the plug on his 2011 season.
“I am an aiming for a top-10, top-5, maybe a podium. If it’s a great day, we’ll see,” Phinney told VeloNews. “Last year, I came into the worlds as a huge, hot favorite for the U23 race. Now I am in this certain underdog, no-pressure, young-gun, let’s-see-what-he-can-do type of scenario.”
Last year, racing in the U23 race, Phinney struck gold and Talansky was 15th.
Phinney takes optimism out of the fifth-place performance he had in stage 10 at the Vuelta a España, which was the longest time trial he’d ever raced. With Wednedsay’s at nearly the same distance, Phinney is quietly hopeful he can come close to the podium.
“I am happy with the time trial I had at the Vuelta, with fifth there. It was 47km TT, which is the same as tomorrow,” he said. “I haven’t had much preparation for time trials of that length, so I was pleasantly surprised to pull out the result I had at the Vuelta, especially after nine hard days of racing. I definitely struggled most of those first nine days.”
For Talansky, who’s posted a string of top-10s in individual time trials this spring in Europe, the worlds presents a chance to build on his efforts from finishing what was a very difficult and challenging Vuelta a España.
“For me, this worlds is more about the experience. I usually need a bit of a climb to make a difference,” Talansky told VeloNews. “It’s very flat. It’s also an aero course, when you can tuck your head down and churn the pedals, so I am hoping that makes a little bit of a difference. The wind seems to funnel in there. It’s either a headwind or a tailwind.”
Talansky, who is confirmed to race the Tour of Beijing early this month, said he’s curious to see what kind of performance he can have Wednesday. He rode to 16th in the Vuelta’s Salamanca time trial and hopes to break into the top-20 on a Copenhagen course not ideal for his riding style.
“This will give me a good indication of how recovered I am. You need to know how your body responds when you finish a grand tour,” he said. “It’s a little bit of an experiment. This will be even a better gauge than the road race will be, because I will be able to see the power. I feel pretty good and I know I am on a different level of strength, but it’s a question of whether my body will be able to process it all yet.”