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Taylor Phinney earns elite worlds berth – will he go?

With his win of the professional national time trial championships Saturday, Taylor Phinney earned a spot on the elite world championships team. Before Saturday, he planned to ride the U23 events, for which he qualified with his wins at Paris-Roubaix Espoirs and the Olympias Tour.

USPRO Time Trial Championships, 2010
Phinney gets a close look as Leipheimer finishes a tenth of a second behind his time.

Phinney rides for Continental-registered Trek-Livestrong and he staigaired earlier this season for Radioshack, meaning he is eligible to ride the elite or U23 events at the world championships, but not both.

Phinney fumbled for an answer when asked about the world championships after the race and said that he will weigh his options with his parents and USA Cycling’s Jim Miller. “I haven’t even thought about that. I don’t know,” he said. “I need to talk to my people.”

Phinney would enter U23 worlds as the favorite in the time trial and road race. He would be a long shot, however, in the elite TT, where Fabian Cancellara will look for his fourth elite title. And Phinney would be a support rider in the elite road race.

“I have a lot of years ahead of me hopefully in the sport, so if I can go for the win in the under-23 time trial, I think that would be more important than just going for the ride, so to speak, as a pro,” Phinney said. “But it’s definitely something I’ll think about because I was not expecting to win today.”

USA Cycling should announce the world championship team Monday.

Miller said that Phinney, his family and the worlds selection committee would discuss where best to place the 20-year-old. “He’s going to have a lot of practice for time trial in next 10 years,” said Miller, the vice president of athletics for the national federation. “It’s his last year as a U23 and it would be a nice way to go out.”

Phinney is the first double worlds qualifier in the 18 years that Miller has been involved with the national team program.