Taylor Phinney (Boulder, Colo./Trek-Livestrong) became the first American to win back-to-back elite men’s world titles on the track, re-capturing the rainbow jersey in the 4-kilometer individual pursuit Thursday night in Denmark. The U.S. women’s team pursuit squad also qualified for the finals for the first time in history, finishing fourth.
“It feels relieving. I did a lot of training specifically for this race, so it is great to be able to go for the double and come away with it,” said Phinney of his second pursuit world title. “My main goal is the world record and I don’t think I’m going to stop pursuiting until I get there. Sunday I have the omnium; that’s the next focus on the track for the Olympics.”
Phinney clocked a winning time of 4:16.600 to beat New Zealand’s Jesse Sergent in the gold-medal final. Seeded first, Sergent rode a 4:18.495 to settle for the silver medal. Last year’s runner-up Jack Bobridge of Australia earned the bronze over Alexander Serov (RUS) in 4:18.066.
Earlier in the day, Phinney rode a 4:16.102 to slide into the final against his Trek-Livestrong teammate Sergent, who posted a blistering time of 4:15.988. Australian phenom Jack Bobridge qualified third with a 4:17.169.
After capturing his first elite world title in the 2009 individual pursuit, Phinney’s pair of world championships are the first back-to-back by an American male track rider. Pre-Phinney, the last American to win a men’s pursuit title was Mike McCarthy in 1992.
At the age of 19, Phinney continues to add to an impressive résumé that already lists several major accomplishments including a seventh-place finish at the Olympic Games, a trio of elite national titles (2007-08-09) a junior road time trial world title (2008) and several UCI World Cup victories.
The American women’s team pursuit squad of Dotsie Bausch (Irvine, Calif./ATF Empire Coaching Systems), Sarah Hammer (Temecula, Calif./American Track Foundation) and Lauren Tamayo (Asheville, N.C./Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12) re-set their own American record twice on Thursday and landed just outside the medals in fourth.
After a blistering qualifying time of 3:24.661 the U.S. team set themselves up for a bronze medal face-off with New Zealand.
Despite lowering their time once again in the bronze medal final, the American squad fell to the Kiwis who brought top form, setting a new world record in the final round. A new U.S. record of 3:24.571 however gave the Americans the best U.S. finish ever in this event at the world championships. Australia went on to edge Great Britain in the gold medal round with a 3:21.784.
Daniel Holloway (Morgan Hill, Calif./Bissell) also competed for the United States on Thursday, finishing 18th in the men’s scratch race, one-lap down on hometown favorite Alex Rasmussen of Denmark.
On Friday, American Giddeon Massie (Cypress, Calif./Bike Religion) will contest the men’s kilometer time trial and Shelley Evans (Scotts Valley, Calif./Peanut Butter & Co. Twenty 12) will go for the gold in the women’s scratch race. The UCI Track Cycling World Championships will continue through Sunday.