Taylor Phinney's performance at the UCI Track World Championship in Manchester, England, stood out on Wednesday. The 17 year-old junior not only finished eighth among his more senior challengers, but also may have broken the three kilometer junior world record while racing the individual pursuit.
Phinney found some extra energy to pull ahead of Spain's Sergi Escobar, a double world champion, during their ride. Escobar had been leading Phinney until the final half kilometer. Phinney's unofficial world 3km record was recorded as 3:17.523, faster than the current record of 3:17.77.
His final 4km time was 4:22.358, approximately two seconds faster than his previous personal best time of 4:24.364.
The UCI will have to decide whether to grant Phinney the record as it was set during a 4km pursuit. Normally, a record must be set when a rider is competing during the specified distance; however, Chris Hoy was previously awarded the 500m record he set when contesting the kilometer. Another requirement Phinney will have to meet to earn the record is a passed doping test. Normally his eighth place finish wouldn't put him into the automatic controls, and he was not chosen as a random control. Phinney requested that he be subjected to a doping control at his team's cost so he could have a chance at being awarded the record.
"I rode the first lap a little too slow," said Phinney of his 16-lap effort. "I just couldn't quite get on top of the gear. Then I didn't want to go too fast and take everything out of me trying to make up for it. I usually finish fast, so I think if I could have gotten on top of the gear a little sooner I would have been a little faster. At this stage, every pursuit is a learning experience for me. I just have to get everything dialled in for the Olympics."
Even if the young rider is not officially awarded the record, he can instead focus on celebrating the news that he has qualified for the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. According to his mother, herself a former Olympic gold medalist, Taylor has accumulated enough points to qualify for the Games.