Taylor Knibb Punches Olympic Ticket Again. In Cycling.

It is no secret to the multisport world that American Taylor Knibb is the fastest, hardest riding cyclist in triathlon. She may also be the fastest time trialist in American women’s cycling.

Knibb won the US Women’s National TT Championship today, besting second place Kristen Faulkner from EF Education by 11 seconds and third-place Amber Neben by 50 seconds. Knibb completed 2 laps of the 16.9km course, 33.7km in total in a finish time of 41.59, averaging 48.24kph.

This was not a fluke or a last-minute decision. Knibb placed 4th in this national championship race last year, riding out of the B heat during which rain fell heavily. She knew she had a good shot in a more evenly-contested event. Already on the U.S. team is Chloe Dygert, reigning and twice TT World Champion, who skipped this race. Dygert is the big asterisk to any claim to being America's best women's TT racer.

USA Cycling informed Olympic aspirants that a second spot on the US Olympic team would be won at either a standalone qualification or at this race. Elite Nationals is the race they chose.

This worked into Knibb’s schedule as it fell in between World Triathon events in Yokohama (this past weekend) and Cagliari, Italy (10 days from now). She flew directly from Yokohama to this race in West Virginia to try to make the Olympics in a second sport and it is vanishingly rare for an athlete to compete in the same Olympic Games in 2 different sports.

She arrived in West Virginia with only her road bike. She is part of Trek’s Project Echelon Team, which has a men’s team at this race so support was available. Still, a Trek Project Echelon driver came in a day early to support Knibb, and it’s required that Knibb’s follow car have a UCI certified driver. Trek brought a pair of UCI legal TT bikes to this race just for Knibb. These logistics were set up about 3 weeks before today’s race.

She was refit aboard her tri and TT bikes by Matt Bottrill in March, and the position she rides is identical for both no-draft tri and UCI TT. Trek Project Echelon’s mechanic for triathlon came in just for this race, just for Knibb.

Yes, Knibb intends to compete in both cycling and triathlon in the upcoming Paris Olympics. The Cycling TT takes place several days before her first triathlon (assuming she races both the individual triathlon and team relay). The schedule is Women's Cycling TT on July 27th, Women's Individual Triathlon on July 31st, and Mixed Team Relay on August 5th.

Other equipment notes: Bontrager does not make a disc wheel so Trek purchased a Vanquish Disc from HED Wheels, which Knibb used in her victory today. Likewise Bontrager does not make an aero helmet; Knibb is permitted to use the fastest helmet of her choice and an HJC helmet is what she chose. She rides a Trek Speed Concept with a Drag2Zero front end. Cuore made her triathlon suit and coincidentally makes the apparel for USA Cycling. Cuore made a replica of her tri suit but in the TT cut for this race.

Taylor Knibb is going to be bringing a lot of bicycles to Paris.

PHOTO: USA Cycling / Snowy Mountain Photography