Age: 27 (27/06/90)
Pro Since: 2010
Team: Team EF Education First–Drapac
Taylor Phinney is probably the most recognizable face of new American cycling' in no small part because he's the son of former pro cyclists and Olympic medalists Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter-Phinney. However the Boulder, Colorado native has already shown that he’s not content to just ride his parents’ yellow and gold coattails.
Taylor began bike racing at the age of 15 for Team Slipstream's Junior team and racked up over 20 victories in his first season. As an amateur his breakthrough result came in August 2007 when he won a Junior World Championship in the team time trial discipline. Taylor backed up this success by performing credibly in the 2008 Summer Olympics; having just turned 18, he finished 7th in the Individual Pursuit. Shortly after returning from Beijing he was selected for the Trek-Livestrong U23 development team; providing the perfect platform for Taylor to develop as a race rider and further enhance his growing reputation.
Prior to turning pro in late 2010, Taylor had a string of impressive results on the track, including World Champion titles in 2009 and 2010 in the individual pursuit. Last year was his breakout as a pro, winning the individual time trial at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge and narrowly missing out on medalling at the London Olympics with 4th place finishes in both the road race and the time trial events. In May 2012, Taylor accomplished his biggest goal of the season, winning the prologue at the Giro d'Italia to become just the third American to ever don the race leader’s pink jersey.
Taylor began 2013 in fine form, winning stage 2 in the Tour of Qatar and placing 3rd in the Overall GC. He started the Giro d'Italia but struggled physically throughout the race and was forced to withdraw in the latter part due to an underlying injury. At the end of July, Taylor returned to action in the Tour of Poland and grabbed headlines with an incredible solo ride to win stage 4 of the race. He closed out the year at the World Championships in Florence where he finished 5th in the time trial event.
In February 2014, Taylor won the opening time trial at the Tour of Dubai which set him up for the Overall GC, his first stage race victory as a pro. After a couple of solid rides in the Spring Classics, Taylor won the US National time trial Championship in May. However unfortunately a few days later he crashed on a descent in the US National road race and fractured his lower leg. After he underwent surgery, the initial prognosis was very positive and Taylor had hoped to return before the end of the season. However a longer rehabilitation period was required.
Up to this point in his career, Taylor's focus and dedication to cycling had been absolute, excluding almost any other diversion that did not fit in with his racing and training commitments. Suddenly freed up, he had the opportunity to investigate interests that had long been sidelined; he took flying lessons, began reading more and started painting. He also took several long journeys on the bike; most notably Boulder to Moab as part of the film “Thereabouts 2” and solo rides from Vancouver to Eugene, Oregon and LA to Joshua Tee. These rides heightened Taylor's love for cycling and combined with the enforced break have enabled him to approach the sport with a different perspective. Taylor hopes this mindset will help him target and achieve his goals in the future.
Taylor's long-awaited return to racing in August 2015 saw him earn a podium finish in the opening stage at the Tour of Utah. A fortnight later, he won the opening stage at the Tour of Colorado. He carried this momentum into the World Championships in Richmond where he played a key role in BMC’s World Championship team time trial victory. A few days later he helped the USA earn a TT spot for Rio and rode solidly in the World Championship road race.
In 2016, Taylor won his third US National time trial Championship and was selected to represent Team USA in the road race and time trial events at the 2016 Olympic Games. Taylor finished 22nd in the time trial and shortly after the Games it was announced that he would be joining the Cannondale-Drapac team in 2017.
Taylor’s debut season with Cannondale-Drapac began slowly due to unfortunate circumstances: a fluke fall down the rain-slicked steps of the team bus in February, a concussion in April's Tour of Flanders and a crash at the Tour of California. However he found his form in early summer by riding at the Tour de Suisse - the first mountainous WorldTour stage race he had ridden in four years. Taylor was subsequently selected to ride in his first Tour de France and in the opening-stage time trial, he finished just outside the top 10 on the rain-slicked roads in Düsseldorf. The next day’s stage, Taylor broke away from the peloton with three other riders and quickly got a gap. He rode smart and sprinted to the first “King of the Mountains" (KOM) point of the race, putting himself into the classification lead. Then, as the four man breakaway rode toward the finish, Taylor sprinted again to take the second KOM point and thereby securing the famed red-and-white polka-dot jersey for stage 3.
Riding in his first Tour de France and finishing the race in Paris was no doubt the highlight of Taylor’s season. It was an experience he will be looking to replicate again in 2018, but his immediate focus will be on competing for the early season classics.Website photography provided by Andrea Mead Cross and EF Education First-Drapac.
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