US cyclist wins gold medal in track championship

PRUSZKOW, Poland: Teenage track sensation Taylor Phinney struck gold in the men''s pursuit to end the United States'' 16-year wait for the title here at the world track cycling championships Thursday.

Phinney, standing an impressive 1.93m tall, fulfilled pre-race predictions to overcome a strong challenge from Australian Jack Bobridge, who finished second.

Belgian Dominique Cornu won bronze after beating Volodymyr Dyudya.

Born in Boulder, Colorado, Phinney is the son of successful cycling parents.

Father Davis won bronze in the 100km team time trial in 1984, the same year his mother Connie Carpenter won gold in the women''s road race.

After a seventh place finish in the Olympics last year, Phinney admitted he had not really expected to become world champion so quickly.

However, since Beijing he has gone from strength to strength, defending his American national pursuit title in 2008 as well as winning both the pursuit and the kilometre events at the Copenhagen round of the track World Cup last month.

With 2008 world and Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins not competing, the way was open for the likes of Phinney, considered the new sensation of American cycling, to strike gold.

He dominated qualifying in style, with a new American record of 4min 15.160sec for the 16 laps of the track.

In what turned out to be a battle of the 19-year-olds in the final, Bobridge fought valiantly, keeping Phinney within his sights over a tight first half of the race.

However, Phinney soon began to edge ahead, and by the 3000m mark took his
advantage to 0.5sec over Bobridge.

In the end Phinney finished in a time of 4:17.631 to become the first American champion in the 4km event since Mike McCarthy in 1992.

The world record in the event is 4:11.114, set by Britain''s Chris Boardman at Manchester in 1996.