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Phinney, Kneisky win at track worlds

PRUSZKOW, Poland -- Taylor Phinney of the United States won the individual pursuit and Morgan Kneisky of France captured the scratch title at the track world championships on Thursday.

Phinney outpaced Jack Bobridge of Australia with a time of 4 minutes, 17.631 seconds to win his first world title. Bobridge finished almost three seconds back.

"I came here and definitely expected myself to win," Phinney said. "I came and did what I had to do, and it feels good."

The 18-year-old Phinney, the son of 1984 Olympic medalists Connie Carpenter-Phinney and Davis Phinney, set a new American record of 4 minutes, 15.160 seconds in qualifying earlier in the day, breaking the mark he set at the World Cup last month in Copenhagen.

"My mom was pursuit world champion, my dad was a great sprinter, so I sort of see myself as having this big genetic advantage over everybody else. It's sort of written in my gene code that I should be good at this event," Phinney said. "So it's something that I take forward and have a little mental edge over everybody else."

Australia's Kaarle McCulloch and Anna Meares upset British defending champions Victoria Pendleton and Shanaze Reade in the team sprint; Germany's Maximilian Levy won the keirin; and Britain outpaced New Zealand for the women's team pursuit crown.

McCulloch and Meares finished the sprint in a blistering 33.149 seconds, just ahead of Pendleton and Reade, world champions the previous two years, who crossed the line in 33.380. Lithuania outpaced France for the bronze.

"We really did have to beat the best in the game to do it, and that's a great feeling," Meares said. "It's such a big high."

Pendleton and Reade, also the BMX world champ, thought they had enough speed.

"After the first ride Shanaze and I knew we needed to find another tenth [of a second] to beat the Australian team. We both did, but we didn't anticipate the Australians would find more speed for the final," Pendleton said.

Kneisky gave France its second gold medal of the competition with his win in the scratch race. Riding most of the 60 laps in a breakaway group of six riders, Kneisky made his move on the final turn to edge past Angel Dario Colla of Argentina and Travis Meyer of Australia at the line. Colla took the silver, while Meyer settled for bronze.

"It's unimaginable, it's fantastic, it's a dream," Kneisky said.

Britain's Mark Cavendish, a sprint standout who won the Milan-San Remo cycling classic last week, fell back early and finished seventh.

Elizabeth Armitstead, Wendy Houvenaghel and Joanna Rowsell successfully defended Britain's team pursuit title against New Zealand's Lauren Ellis, Jaime Nielsen and Alison Shanks in the final. It was Britain's first gold at the 2009 championships after dominating last year's worlds.

In the men's keirin, Levy edged Francois Pervis of France and Teun Mulder of the Netherlands to claim the gold in a wild sprint finish. Pervis finished second and Mulder was third.

"I could feel with one lap to go when I got to the front that it's so fast and just go, go, go, and then I crossed the finish line," Levy said.

Britain's Chris Hoy has dominated the event in recent years but was missing after injuring his hip last month in Copenhagen. Olympic silver medalist Ross Edgar of Britain finished fourth, while teammate Matthew Crampton was fifth.