A story almost as old as time itself, the young up-and-comer taking on and beating the veteran. In his first US Pro Time Trial, phenom Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong U23) beat veteran Levi Leipheimer (Team Radioshack) by hundreds of a second, a difference of only 0.14 seconds separated the two riders after 20.7 miles (33.3 km) in the saddle.
“It’s crazy.” Phinney said about his slim margin. “To be honest, I didn’t think I got it when he crossed the line. It was pretty amazing to have Dave Towle announce my name, he’s got that voice man, you can hear it from like 10 miles away.”
A win in his first national championships with the big boys. “This is probably one of the biggest wins in my career because it is an elite national championship, anytime you win as an under 23, it’s great but it’s not a big deal. Winning this, it’s a jersey I get to wear all year in my first year as a pro and I’m very excited about that.”
“I was just on twitter and I posted this.” Leipheimer said. “This is not the first time that I lost a time trial by .14, I’ll never forget in the Dauphine, I think it was 2005, I lost an hour long time trial by .14 but also took the yellow jersey that day so that was a little consolation but today I get nothing, nothing but 41 minutes of pain.”
Finally getting to celebrate on the podium, a very happy Bernard Van Ulden (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) came in third, at one minute and twelve seconds from the winner. After Tom Zirbel‘s doping suspension last year, the results were re-adjusted and Van Ulden moved up to third but he didn’t get the pleasure to stand on the podium, until today.
“I got third in 2005 when it was in Salt Lake City, up on Buffalo Island and then last year, re-adjusted to third. And third this year, but this is the first time that I got to really soak in and enjoy the podium.” said Van Ulden who was all smiles and enjoying the experience.
Veteran vs youngster. With no rest day between the TT and the road race, only 15 riders decided to take on the challenge of the 3 loops around the flat, technical 6.9-mile (11.1-km) circuit. Same course as last year, but a lot windier.
“Coming out of the start gate you have a headwind, the uphill sections of the course were all headwinds, I think I go downhill in the TT better that I go uphill, so definitely kind of suffering through there. And then some of the faster sections of the course were crosswinds, coming onto the main road right before you make the final turn towards the finish, there was some pretty good crosswinds there.” Van Ulden described. “There was one point where I wasn’t in my aero-bars and I’m thankful that I wasn’t because I caught a piece of crosswind that took my for a loop for a second. I immediately thought wow if I had been in the aero-bars it could have been ugly.”
Impressively, the first rider out of the gate, 21-year old Carter Jones (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda) set the fastest split which held until his teammate Van Ulden came through the start/finish line, 11 riders later. Jones, in his first race as a pro rider, held on for fourth place.
The battle was on between the two last riders, Phinney and Leipheimer. Phinney blasted through the first split, fifteen seconds faster than Leipheimer. But then, while Phinney’s second lap was slower than his first, Leipheimer’s diesel engine kicked in, and he was only 8 seconds down by the end of the second lap.
“I really gave it everything I had because I’ve been the guy that has lost by 0.1 second so I was glad I came out on top of that. It was difficult but hats off to Levi. I was just happy to be up there and even close to where he is time trialing because he is one of the best time trialists in the world.” Phinney said.
On his third lap, Phinney caught and passed his 3-minute man Scott Zwizanski (Kelly Benefit Strategies) who was having a bad day, in his final 100 meters. Then, he waited about 50 meters after the line, to see what time Leipheimer would set, as did the breathless crowd.
“To be honest I didn’t think I got it when he crossed the line.” Phinney added. “I was creeping back toward the finish line, 50 meters away watching the time and looking for Levi. I saw him coming and I was pretty sure that I had not done enough. It was a waiting game and 20 of the longest seconds of my life.”
“Taylor was the biggest competitor here and I think everybody knew it.” Leipheimer said. “He is used to starting fast. He’s got younger legs and can start quicker than me. My advantage is the length, the efficiency, the experience and pacing. Those are the things that are on my side. I tried to keep it smooth and focus on the last lap to to save a little for the end but I guess it wasn’t enough.”
On his third lap, Peter Stetina (Garmin-Transitions) overcooked a corner and crashed into the median. Nothing broken but his start in the road race is still up in the air.
“No way I’m going to make excuses.” Leipheimer repeated a few times during the press conference. “You could count a hundred places where I lost 0.14 of a second but anybody can do that, Taylor can do that and Bernard can do that. t just takes some time to get over the disappointment. Sometimes it’s good to have a stinging defeat like that. Sometimes you need it to kick it in gear and re-motivate yourself. I guess I’m just looking on the bright side.”
If his Team Radioshack doesn’t come away with the Stars and Stripes this weekend, Leipheimer admitted that it would be a big disappointment. Well there’s one more day of racing, the 115 miles (185.1 km) road race on Sunday where Leipheimer expect a Radioshack vs BMC battle.
|US Pro TT Results with Lap Splits|
|Name||Team||Lap 1||Lap 2||Lap 3|
|Split||Split||Lap Time||Split||Lap Time||Gap|
|1||Taylor Phinney||Trek Livestrong U23||13:26.24(1)||27:14.43(1)||13:48.19||41:02.51||13:48.08|
|2||Levi Leipheimer||Team RadioShack||13:41.95(2)||27:22.44(2)||13:40.49||41:02.65||13:40.21||+0.14|
|3||Bernard Van Ulden||Jelly Belly p/b Kenda||13:57.24(3)||27:56.92(3)||13:59.68||42:14.97||14:18.05||+1:12.46|
|4||Carter Jones||Jelly Belly p/b Kenda||13:58.25(4)||28:12.27(4)||14:14.02||42:17.15||14:04.88||+1:14.64|
|5||Matthew Busche||Team RadioShack||14:28.35(12)||29:01.57(8)||14:33.22||43:20.65||14:19.08||+2:18.14|
|6||Adrian Hegyvary||UnitedHealthCare p/b Maxxis||14:04.37(6)||28:42.13(5)||14:37.76||43:22.01||14:39.88||+2:19.50|
|7||Benjamin King||Trek Livestrong U23||14:09.45(7)||29:00.00(6)||14:50.55||43:45.20||14:45.20||+2:42.69|
|8||David Williams||Bissell Pro Cycling||14:26.43(11)||29:13.74(12)||14:47.31||43:54.62||14:40.88||+2:52.11|
|9||Paul Mach||Bissell Pro Cycling||14:14.87(9)||29:01.78(9)||14:46.91||43:55.14||14:53.36||+2:52.63|
|10||Nicholas Frey||Jamis-Sutter Home||14:15.56(10)||29:13.32(11)||14:57.76||44:03.32||14:50.00||+3:00.81|
|11||Jonathan Mumford||Kelly Benefit Strategies||14:14.47(8)||29:05.69(10)||14:51.22||44:19.82||15:14.13||+3:17.31|
|12||Scott Zwizanski||Kelly Benefit Strategies||14:00.67(5)||29:00.08(7)||14:59.41||44:20.67||15:20.59||+3:18.16|
|13||Jeremy Powers||Jelly Belly Presente||14:41.89(13)||29:53.49(13)||15:11.60||44:57.74||15:04.25||+3:55.23|
|14||Scott Tietzel||Mountain Khakis F/b Jittery Joe’s||14:54.76(14)||30:04.68(14)||15:09.92||45:01.46||14:56.78||+3:58.95|