Taylor Phinney, breaking away from the dark cloud of a drug exposed sport

What does the Pro-Cycling fan do now after the disingenuous confession, of Lance Armstrong exposed a world of systematic drug use that reverberated through the peloton? Take it’s cues from the foundations of the sport itself, switch to a higher gear, feel the muscles burn in the quads and suffer through it. Even though this is the 100th anniversary of the Tour De France, it’s hard not to completely throw in the towel and move on to something more interesting like say, Olympic wrestling…oh wait.

But despite the EPO sized findings of the liar class of athletes their is still a burning desire to want to believe in raw human achievement and deep rooted emotion that makes the sport of cycling so great. Things like the analog relationship of rider and machine vs a mountain and the rider alone in the breakaway, fighting the elements as a pack of blood thirsty competitors comes screaming down the decent to strip them of the lead jersey.

I recently came across a story that was truly inspiring and made me feel all hope is not lost for this sport.

22 year old Taylor Phinney is the son of two of cyclings greatest: Dad, Davis Phinney, who has probably won the most races in American history and Mom, Connie Carpenter-Phinney who has won 4 Olympic medals in road and track racing.

Taylor now rides for Team BMC and is slugging it out in stage races very early in the season in conditions like this:
Picture 2

The story comes from the Wall Street Journal and highlights how Taylor recently came in last place during the Tirreno-Adriatico race, but was a victorious winner in determination and heart felt emotion.

This Is Not a Story About Last Place
By Jason Gay
March 14th, 2013
PJ-BN118_SP_GAY_G_20130313192154(photo credit: Stefano Sirotti)

This is a story about a guy who finished last. Which is technically true. You can look up the results of the race, and you’ll see his name, right there, lonely at the bottom. Taylor Phinney. USA. Finishing time of six hours, twenty-two minutes, fifty-four seconds. One hundred-and-ninth place. Last.

But this story is better than that.

First, about Taylor Phinney. Remember that name. You might already know it. Bike racer from Boulder, Colo., 22 years old. The son of two cycling legends, Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter. A big dude on the bike, at 6 feet 5 inches, 180 pounds, Taylor Phinney is one of the most promising young cyclists in the world. He’s already been to the Olympics twice. Won a stage of the prestigious Giro d’Italia last year. He is expected to have many great days in the sport.

Monday didn’t begin like one of those days. Phinney was competing in Italy’s Tirreno-Adriatico stage race, and this penultimate stage was a doozy. Up and down, down and up, 209 kilometers of punishment, including a 27% climb so comically steep that some riders got off their bikes and pushed them uphill. Many riders quit. Later the race organizer would admit that the stage was too difficult, even for elite pros.

Read more, here.

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