Phinney & Small win U.S. Pro Time Trial National Championships

May 27, 2016
Category: Women's Races  National Championships 

Fresh from the Amgen Tour of California, the American men and women pros are in Winston-Salem, North Carolina this weekend for the 2016 Volkswagen Pro Road National Championships. On Friday, Taylor Phinney (BMC) won his third national time trial championship and Carmen Small (Cervelo Bigla) won her second national title. Both athletes won the right to wear the coveted red, white and blue skinsuits in time trials for the next year.

Phinney showcased his powerful time trial form last Friday during the Amgen Tour of California Stage 6 time trial in Folsom where he hammered his way to a third place finish. Riding in his first national championships since 2014 when he won the time trial before suffering a traumatic crash resulting in a severely broken leg during the championship road race, the 25-year-old BMC rider presented his defiant case for selection for Team USA at this summer’s Rio Olympic Games when he blasted past Tom Zirbel (Rally Cycling) and Alexey Vermeulen (Lotto NL-Jumbo) by more than a minute apiece. The Boulder, Colorado resident covered the rolling 42-kilometer course in 1:02:46.

“Any time you're doing an hour time trial, it’s definitely a journey. The joy of victory hasn’t quite set in yet because I’m still deep in the pain cave,” said Phinney. “It was super difficult and I didn’t really have a lot of fun. But that’s how it is with a time trial and I signed myself up for this event, so I knew what I was getting myself into. Honestly, I didn’t really feel very good. It was a tough mental battle the whole way. I started out super confident and then lost almost all of my confidence, and then gained it back and then lost it again, and then by the time I was on the way to the finish I had my confidence back. It’s easy to say that now, but that’s what happened. I thought I was going super slow and started to get a bit down.”

The two-time Olympian elaborate on the effort it took to win. “I couldn’t walk for almost two hours afterwards. I still can’t ride my bike and get my left leg over the left crank because I was cramping really intensely after the time trial. It’s a weird thing to do to yourself that’s for sure, but I’m happy that I won, and happy that I’m not in so much pain anymore.”

Small won her first national time trial championship in 2013. On Friday, the women covered 33km and Small’s 42:31:91 outpaced 2008 UCI World Time Trial Champion Amber Neben (BEPINK) by 23 seconds and pre-race favorite Kristin Armstrong (Twenty16-Ridebiker), a two-time Olympic gold medal-winning time trialist, by 1:08.

“I’m so stoked right now. It’s unbelievable. All that hard work over the winter and the spring has paid off. I was more stressed out than I ever was in my life coming into this race. I was more nervous than I was at World Championships. I had the best preparation coming here. I had time at home to spend with family and my cats and was relaxed for a while. I had good training at home in Durango,” explained Small. “I had a very specific strategy. It was a hard course so I didn’t want to go in the red and had to be patient and carry that speed into the next climb. It was pretty good. I talked a lot with my coach about how to ride the course. I had the plan in my head the whole time. It couldn’t have gone more perfect.”

On Saturday, the men and women will compete for stars & stripes jerseys in the road race. The women’s race spans 140Km and the men’s peloton will battle for 187km.