As Wednesday's Olympic Games time trial looms near, Taylor Phinney will finally find out whether his specific training for the race against the clock in Boulder, Colorado, will see him return stateside with an Olympic medal. Having placed fourth in the Olympic road race, the American received confirmation of his great form even if he lost out on a medal this weekend. But more importantly, Phinney has been training specifically for the time trial event for these last six weeks, simulating the Olympic course at his home in Boulder, Colorado.
On and around the Interstate 25 in Boulder County, the 22-year-old designed a 44km-course almost identical to the one that will be raced tomorrow in central London, and stuck to a strict training programme to gradually raise his power output and come up to Olympic level.
"Of course, the road surface is different, but in a time trial, a lot is in your head and being able to suffer," Phinney told TimesCall.com. "It's just being able to push through any physical boundaries for a solid 50 minutes and sit in a very uncomfortable place for that amount of time."
In order to prepare his Olympic bid to perfection, Phinney has sat out any racing these last weeks and solely concentrated on his time trialling skills. A set goal of wattage in mind, the BMC rider gradually increased his performances on the course. "That's something I could not have done if I'd done a race," Phinney added. "If I raced, I would've come here with a solid base of fitness but not necessarily the specific work that I felt I needed to achieve what I want to achieve here in the time trial."
The strict training programme he forced upon his body is nothing new to Phinney, whose abilities in the time trial stem from his track riding success. A double world champion in the individual pursuit, the American is not at his first Olympics, either, as he achived a seventh place in the pursuit event in Beijing four years ago.
"Training for a time trial is very similar to training for a track race, which is something I'm pretty adept at," Phinney said. "I've done that a lot."
Phinney will be up against the race favourites Bradley Wiggins (UK), Fabian Cancellara (Switzerland) and Tony Martin (Germany). The latter two may both be slightly diminished due to recent crashes involving injuries, which might be in Phinney's favour. Spain's Luis Leon Sanchez and France's Sylvain Chavanel are also vying for Olympic medals at the event, but all of the American's rivals have one thing in common: instead of specific time trial training, they have been racing the Tour de France.
"For the time trial, race miles aren't necessarily that important (nor is) racing with a group," Phinney's teammate Timmy Duggan added. "It's the specificity training he's been doing to the course. I know he's been nailing that. With his big gap in racing, I really can't imagine anyone in the field will have been training so specifically for the time trial as Taylor."