Pursuit world champion bests Hoy for top honours
Taylor Phinney may have spent the least amount of time on the track this year as any of his competitors in the best male track rider category, but Cyclingnews readers resoundingly rewarded the 20-year-old phenom with his first-ever Reader Poll award. The talented American earned 6,798 votes to top runner-up Chris Hoy by 2,735 and reverse the top-two from 2009's men's track poll.
At the UCI Track World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, the then 19-year-old Phinney won his second consecutive rainbow-striped jersey in the 4,000m individual pursuit. Winning a world championship, much less attempting back-to-back victories, is never an easy endeavor as Phinney faced stiff competition from New Zealand's Jesse Sergent, his Trek-Livestrong teammate on the road, as well as Australia's Jack Bobridge, who clocked the second fastest 4,000m pursuit time in history (4:14.427) en route to an Australian national championship in early February, a month and a half prior to the Worlds.
Sergent qualified quickest in 4:15.988, followed by Phinney in 4:16.102 and then Bobridge with 4:17.169. In the finals, however, Phinney topped Sergent 4:16.600 to 4:18.459 to add a second gold medal to his elite world championship collection.
"I came here with the aim of defending my title, so it is really unbelievable to win," Phinney said in Copenhagen. "It took a lot of effort, but it was worth it. The crowd was great, everybody cheering - it was awesome, that is all I can ask for."
Three days later Phinney earned another world championship medal, claiming the bronze in the Omnium. Phinney won the individual pursuit and finished second in the 1,000m time trial events, had a respectable flying 200m, but faltered in the points race and scratch race to finish behind winner Ed Clancy (Great Britain) and silver medalist Leigh Howard (Australia).
With Phinney's favourite event, the 4,000m individual pursuit, no longer an Olympic discipline, sadly March's track world championships in Copenhagen may be the last time we see Phinney compete on the track for some time as he pursues his road career. Phinney's 2010 road season was also brilliant, highlighted by a world championship in the U23 time trial, a bronze medal in the U23 road world championship, the US elite time trial championship and a second straight win in the U23 Paris-Roubaix.
Phinney will make his ProTeam debut in 2011 with the BMC Racing Team.
Three-time Cyclingnews male track rider of the year Chris Hoy finished 2010's poll in second place with 4063 votes. The Scot won the third keirin world championship of his career in Copenhagen and added another national title to his collection in September, winning the team sprint with Jason Kenny and Matthew Crampton at the British Track Championships. Other notable victories in 2010 were earned in December's UCI Track World Cup in Melbourne, Australia, where Hoy won the keirin and teamed with Jason Kenny and Matthew Crampton to claim the team sprint.
Hoy was a double medalist at the track world championships in March as he teamed with Ross Edgar and Jason Kenny to pick up a bronze medal in the team sprint. Hoy also earned bronze in the team sprint at the European track championships in Pruszkow, Poland, perhaps more notable for an ignominious mental lapse on Hoy's part in the men's sprint competition which saw him eliminated in the 1/16 finals by Ireland's Felix English after qualifying fastest with a blazing 9.999 for the flying 200m.
Hoy rounded out his season with a pair of second place finishes in the second round of the UCI Track World Cup held in Cali, Colombia in mid-December. Hoy claimed second in the team sprint, with teammates Jason Kenny and Matthew Crampton, as well as the sprint competition.
Third place honours in the poll went to Australia's Cameron Meyer who tallied 2,227 votes. Meyer had a spectacular year on the track, highlighted by three gold medals at the world championships. Meyer repeated as points race world champion, was part of Australia's 4,000m team pursuit squad which set a new track record of 3:55.654 en route to a gold medal, and also won the Madison with compatriot Leigh Howard.
Meyer claimed two gold medals at the Commonwealth Games later in the season, winning the points race and helping Australia garner gold in the 4,000m team pursuit.
At the Oceania Track Championships in Adelaide, Australia, Meyer picked up gold medals in the Madison and team pursuit, a feat he would duplicate in early December at the opening UCI Track World Cup of the 2010-2011 season in Melbourne, Australia. Following the World Cup, Meyer dominated the Australian Madison championships, lapping the field four times with teammate Jack Bobridge for the victory.
Cyclingnews Reader Poll results - Best male track rider
Taylor Phinney, 6798 votes (40.5%)
Chris Hoy, 4063 (24.2%)
Cameron Meyer, 2227 (13.3%)
Jack Bobridge, 1089 (6.5%)
Alex Rasmussen, 876 (5.2%)
Ed Clancy, 562 (3.3%)
Gregory Bauge, 437 (2.6%)
Bruno Risi, 397 (2.4%)
Jesse Sergent, 338 (2.0%)