The 2012 Olympics are a couple years away, but world-champion endurance cyclist and Boulder native Taylor Phinney has already lost. The International Olympic Committee is eliminating the 4,000-meter individual pursuit race for track cycling from the 2012 London Games. The decision is a roadblock for 19-year-old Phinney, the event’s defending world champion.
“A little part of me knew this day would come. I’m just devastated,” Phinney tells the Denver Post.
In July 2008, 5280 profiled Phinney, including his quest to follow in the path of his father, Davis—also a champion cyclist who helped train Taylor but is now suffering the effects of Parkinson’s disease.
The cancellation of the event means Phinney won’t have a chance to go for the gold, after finishing seventh in Beijing. Mixed tennis doubles will replace the cycling race, as part of a decision to ensure that men and women compete in the same number of events in London. International cycling and Olympic officials defend the new program, writes the Reuters. But Phinney and others in the cycling community have protested, particularly because the individual pursuit is a race for both men and women.
“That doesn’t make sense with the changes they made,” Phinney tells the Post. “The individual pursuit already had gender equity, as did the points race. They’re making changes on false claims.”
Phinney plans to compete in the event at the world championships this March and may later try the road-race time trial in order to get his shot at Olympic gold in London.