Taylor Phinney set to retire

Taylor Phinney
Taylor Phinney (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Taylor Phinney, the 29-year-old American who wore the Giro d'Italia's maglia rosa in 2012 but suffered a career-altering injury in 2014, is set to retire from professional bike racing.

Neither the EF Education First rider or his team confirmed the retirement, but  longtime Boulder, Colorado, friend of Phinney's and sports nutritionist Allen Lim posted an update on Instagram thanking Phinney "for all the miles." Comments from several former pros and industry insiders congratulated Phinney on the decision.

"Good luck TP! You’ll land somewhere great," wrote Colorado-based cycling photographer and Cyclingnews contributor Dejan Smaic. 

Former pro Craig Lewis wrote "the best miles are head." Tim Johnson, a former road and cyclo-cross pro who now works with USA Cycling, commented simply
"(S)miles," while mountain biker Rebecca Rusch typed "Evolution."

Rumours about Phinney's impending retirement have been widespread in the peloton since late summer. Phinney's last UCI race was the RideLondon Classic in early August. Before that his previous outing was at May's Tour of California, where he missed the time cut on stage 5 to Ventura.

Emails, texts and phone calls to EF Education First, team manager Jonathan Vaughters and to Phinney were not immediately returned Wednesday morning, but the team later confirmed Phinney's retirement after the Japan Cup on October 20. 

Taylor Phinney, the son of 1984 Olympic road race champion Connie Carpenter Phinney and 7-Eleven sprinting legend Davis Phinney, began racing on the track as a junior and collected World Championship titles in the individual pursuit in 2009 and 2010. 

On the road, he joined Axel Merckx's Trek-Livestrong development team in 2009 and immediately made an impression, winning the U23 Paris-Roubaix in both 2009 and 2010. He jumped to the WorldTour in 2011 with BMC Racing and established himself as a top time triallist, winning the prologue at the 2012 Giro d'Italia and wearing the pink leader's jersey for three days.

Phinney took 10 wins for BMC from 2011 to 2014, including the 2014 US time trial title. Disaster stuck just a few days later in the US pro road race, however, when he was forced to change his line in a downhill corner to avoid an official's motorcycle and crashed heavily into some roadside barriers. Phinney suffered a compound fracture to his tibia and severed patellar tendon. 

Phinney required 14 months to recover from the injuries, but he returned to racing in August of 2015 and quickly won a stage at the USA Pro Challenge in Colorado to confirm his comeback. Over the following four seasons, he added only one more win, however, taking the US time trial title in 2016.

Phinney showed signs of brilliance again last season with eighth in Paris-Roubaix, but his 2019 performances once again lacked the potential he showed earlier in his career.

Thanks for all the miles @taylorphinney !! #IXIXI Allen Lim (opens in new tab)

A photo posted by @allenskratch on Oct 16, 2019 at 5:22am PDT

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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.