Phinney hopes to improve US cycling's image

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GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- Taylor Phinney doesn't like cycling's image right now and he hopes the next wave of young Americans can soon change that.

Phinney is the USA Cycling time trial champion, a title he'll defend on Saturday. He's also competing in Monday's 115-mile road race.

Phinney might have an even longer climb than daunting Paris Mountain to sway some convinced that cycling is rampant with competitors using performance enhancers.

Last week's "60 Minutes" report only added to cycling's image problems. Lance Armstrong's ex-teammate, Tyler Hamilton, told the CBS program that he witnessed the seven-time Tour de France winner take performance-enhancing drugs before or during the 1999, 2000 and 2001 tours while part of the U.S. Postal team. Armstrong has denied Hamilton's claims.

Phinney acknowledges not knowing what went on in Armstrong's past. But reports of the federal investigation of Armstrong have not changed Phinney's high opinion of his friend.