Taylor Knibb wins U.S. Time Trial Championship, earning *2nd* Olympic spot

Taylor Knibb is set to become the rare dual-sport Olympian

Taylor Knibb is one of the most powerful racers in the world. Full stop. She’s proven that she can win at nearly every distance of triathlon. And on Wednesday, she showed that even full-time road cyclists struggle to keep up, winning the U.S. National women’s time trial championship in Charleston, W. Va., by 11 seconds over second-place Kristen Faulkner, and 50 seconds over third-place Amber Neben.

With the win, Knibb qualified for a second Olympic spot, after qualifying for the U.S. triathlon team at the Olympic test event last August. This summer, she’ll have a chance to win three medals in the women’s individual triathlon, the mixed relay triathlon, and the women’s individual time trial.

Taylor Knibb about to launch off the start at U.S. Nationals. | Photo: Snowy Mountain Photography

“I’m in shock and I’m incredibly grateful,” Knibb said after the race. “I made a coaching change last year and I wanted to work with someone who knew short course triathlon, long course triathlon, and cycling because I didn’t want to close the door on cycling permanently just yet. I wasn’t sure if or when I would give it another go, but there was just something in my gut that told me to keep the option open.”

Knibb laid down some serious speed on a mostly flat 33.7-kilometer course that went out-and-back from downtown Charleston, clocking a time of 41 minutes and 54 seconds. She took fourth in 2023 on a hillier course in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

“I came away from TT Nationals last year a bit disappointed and wanting to do better,” Knibb said. “My team was supportive of giving it a go and the goal was to go out there, give an all-out effort, and appreciate the opportunity and experience. There are so many strong female American cyclists, so I couldn’t really have many more expectations than controlling my process and execution.”

Elation after an incredible effort. | Photo: Snowy Mountain Photography

Knibb is heading back to the Olympics after making her first appearance in Tokyo, where she earned a silver medal in the mixed relay. She is also a two-time Ironman 70.3 World Champion. In 2021, she won two major individual races at the Olympic distance, World Triathlon Championship Series races in Yokohama and Edmonton, and earlier this month she lined up at Yokohama again and took second.

The Olympics have loomed as Knibb’s biggest goal since the start of 2024. She has become famous for seemingly being able to take on any challenge, any time, anywhere, but this year Knibb challenged herself to focus on gold medal glory. 

“If you saw last year’s racing, or the previous year’s racing, I was kind of just looking at the shiny objects,” Knibb told the Race Shop in March. “I love racing, I love putting myself out there, but I’m not always prepared. So actually being forced to write down my priorities, that was a big exercise for me in terms of shaping the year. And the only thing I had as a top tier was Paris.”

Taylor laying down the watts in Charleston. | Photo: Snowy Mountain Photography

We can’t wait to watch Knibb take not one, not two, but three shots at earning Olympic hardware. She will also join an illustrious group of athletes who can claim that they’ve competed as Olympians in multiple sports. But despite now taking on another discipline, her preparation and focus will remain largely the same ahead of Paris.

“When I told my new coach about doing cycling and triathlon in one of our first conversations ever, he said he was interested because apparently the TT and WTCS races use quite similar energy systems and can really complement each other,” Knibb said. “And I already like to alternate riding my road and time trial bikes, so I think the biggest change will be that I will be riding the UCI TT position still vs. my triathlon time trial position (yes, I have two different positions). But we’ll see!”

Taylor has her sights set on Paris. | Photo: Snowy Mountain Photography

Knibb has yet to find her ceiling, if it exists. You won’t want to miss what she does next. But before she gets right back to work, she’s spending time with family and celebrating an incredible feat as one of the most versatile endurance athletes in the world.   

“I just wanted to say a huge thank you to Trek — and [Trek Race Shop triathlon support manager] Mark Andrews, specifically — for being on the ground and making this whole project possible,” Knibb said. “Thank you for the belief and the support — it wouldn’t be possible without you.”