Taylor Phinney became only the 3rd US cyclist to wear the maglia rosa when he won the opening individual time trial for the Giro d’Italia on Saturday.
Now it rests on the shoulders of his BMC Racing teammates to protect the leader’s jersey. The Giro peloton remains in Denmark for two more stages before relocating to Italy for the remainder of the three-week bike race.
The opening time trial had been a huge goal for Phinney the entire year, and he believed he could post the biggest victory of his career in just 10 minutes time.
After the race, Phinney was quoted at VeloNews.com:
“I gave everything I had today. I had good sensations on the course. The legs felt good. It was some serious suffering for 10 minutes. I knew I had good legs. I am very happy with the ride.”
The 21-year-old is the son of Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter, both accomplished pro cyclists in their own right. In his early years, Taylor Phinney specialized in track cycling where he won world and national championships.
He later joined the Under-23 team created by Lance Armstrong in 2008, then in 2011 shifted his pro career to BMC Cycling, where he joined American George Hincapie.
Time trial victory
Phinney was the 182nd cyclist out of 198 to tackle the flat 5.4-mile course in Herning on Saturday. He set a blistering pace of 10:26, as his closest rival, British cyclist Geraint Thomas of Sky, finished 9 seconds later. Alex Rasmussen of US cycling team Garmin-Barracuda finished third at 10:39.
Saturday’s accomplishment makes Phinney only the third American to take the leader’s pink jersey at the Giro. Previously, Christian Vande Velde won the jersey in 2008 as the newly minted Garmin pro cycling team won the opening team time trial.
Before that, you’d have to go back 20 years to 1988 when US cyclist Andy Hampsten earned the maglia rosa in a blizzard over Gavia Pass and went on to win the Giro d’Italia championship, the first non-European to do so.
In addition, at 21, he becomes the youngest Giro leader since France’s Laurent Fignon in 1982.
Davis Phinney Foundation
The victory in Denmark has to be a cause of celebration in Boulder, Colorado, where the Phinney family makes their home and where Taylor’s father, Davis Phinney, heads the Davis Phinney Foundation to support those who have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
Davis Phinney himself was diagnosed with that disease, a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. An estimated 1.5 million Americans suffer from the disease.
Many in the pro cycling world are offering their congratulations to Davis Phinney, and a few individuals have pledged money to his Every Victory Counts fund to commemorate the event.
See full results at CyclingNews.com.