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Why we love Taylor Phinney

March 12, 2013
Taylor Phinney celebrates his 2012 USA Pro Challenge time trial win in Denver

Taylor Phinney celebrates his 2012 USA Pro Challenge time trial win in Denver

We admire his speed and toughness on the bike. Then he drops a few words on Twitter and we want to hug him or pat him on the back.

Boulder’s Taylor Phinney of the BMC Racing Team is one of the most popular cyclists in the professional peloton. Here are a few reasons why.

We love how Taylor expresses himself. He frequently tweets a blue streak and shares how he’s feeling. Yesterday’s tweets after the epic Stage 6 at Tirreno-Adriatico are a prime example.

xxx

Yes, he’s sometimes emotional. Taylor said on the BMC Racing Team’s audio line that he did everything he could to hide his emotions during his solo ride to the Stage 6 Tirreno finish. Despite his efforts to curb them, sometimes his emotions sneak out into the open in the heat of the moment. As he narrowly lost a bronze medal to Norway’s Alexander Kristoff in the 2012 Olympic road race, he banged his fist on his handlebar.

Multiple stories reported his disappointment at missing the podium that day, including Neal Roger’s piece in Velonews where Phinney said, half-smiling, “Now I have three days to lay in bed and hopefully not watch replays of this race and cry, curled up in a ball.”

Taylor Phinney on Boulder roads before the 2012 Olympics

Taylor Phinney on Boulder roads before the 2012 Olympics

Forget the sentimental stuff. He’s tough as nails and a talented rider. Wearer of the pink leader’s jersey in the 2012 Giro d’Italia after winning the opening time trial. U23 Paris-Roubaix winner. World junior and U23 as well as national time trial champion. Multiple world and national champion on the track. A long list of prologue and time trial victories. Enough said.

He loves his family. “We have a great family dynamic. My sister and I have gotten a lot from my parents. I’ve gotten a lot from my sister and my sister’s gotten a lot from me,” Taylor said during his build-up to the 2012 Olympics. “We’re all kind of like a circle of life, giving back. I love my family and they are definitely the best family I could ask for.”

Davis Phinney

Davis Phinney

He gives. “I’d say my dad’s health and my dad’s foundation is probably the most important thing in my life other than the bicycle,” he told ProVéloPassion last June. He’s easily donated more than the reported 2012 $25,000 gift to support his father’s work to help those with Parkinson’s disease. After the 2012 Giro Taylor donated pink jerseys that were auctioned to benefit The Davis Phinney Foundation.

He doesn’t give up. Fifty-two of the 163 starters abandoned and did not finish Stage 6 at Tirreno-Adriatico yesterday. Even as he watched a pack of riders call it a day so they could warm-up in hot showers and return home early, Taylor continued on to claw his way up steep hills alone in the pouring rain. (Some reports called the distance 120 kilometers.)

Taylor Phinney consoles Tejay van Garderen after Tejay doesn't secure an overall 2012 USA Pro Challenge title

Taylor Phinney consoles Tejay van Garderen after Tejay didn’t secure an overall 2012 USA Pro Challenge title

He cares. Taylor often takes actions out of respect for others. A recent example occurred at February’s GP Citta di Camaiore where he aimed to make the early break-away so he could contest a special intermediate sprint that honored Fabio Casartelli who died from a crash during the 1995 Tour de France.

In a story on the BMC Racing Team website he said, “I know the Casartelli family and that he was a pretty special person to the likes of George Hincapie, Jim Ochowicz and Dr. Max Testa – so they have ties to the BMC Racing family through the Motorola team.”

Taylor got into the break-away and he won the sprint. It’s a pretty sure bet that, unless team rules for earnings on the road prevented it, Taylor donated the sprint prime to the Casartelli family or a related foundation. [Casartelli rode for the Motorola team at the time of his death. – ed.]

He aims to create a positive future for pro-cycling. In an interview with VeloNation about the use of pain killers and caffeine pills in bike races, Taylor said, “The way I see it, if we are going to turn the page, then why don’t we write a whole new book? We can turn this sport into the absolute cleanest sport there is, if we do things right. So that is what I am trying to do.”

That book is one Taylor Phinney writes right now with every race, with every tweet. And the cycling public gobbles up every moment.

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2 Comments
  1. ONCE AGAIN !

    Met up with Taylor at the Pullman parking area of the Tirreno-Adriatico Race , last saturday ! He was as usual gracious enough to chat for a while even though there were many other things to do before the race .

    One of the highlights of the London Olympic experience , was meeting Davis , who is Gracious to ALL that he meets .

    Looking forward to seeing more of Taylor at the Grand Tours .

  2. Jeff permalink

    Beautifully written. Thank you.

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