Father Davis Phinney, cycling icon, says, “I’m proud of him for making the effort. You never know, you’ve got to try.”
Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Post
COLORADO SPRINGS — Dissatisfied with the overall pace of a race he found “hesitant” for most of the afternoon, Boulder’s Taylor Phinney revved up the crowd with a bold move about 20 miles from the finish in Thursday’s 93-mile opening stage of the Colorado Classic but couldn’t make it stick, finishing 42 seconds behind the peloton heading into Friday’s crucial stage in Breckenridge.With dark storm clouds spilling over Pikes Peak and descending over the majestic Garden of the Gods to unleash torrential rain and hail, Phinney staked out a 30-second lead before getting swallowed up by the pack late in the race. John Murphy of Holoweski-Citadel Racing, who won the final stage of the final USA Pro Challenge two years ago in Denver, prevailed in a sprint finish.
“I just felt the calling and went for it,” said Phinney, who races for Cannondale-Drapac. “I thought I would maybe have a couple of companions but I ended up just solo-dolo with like 30K. I just put my head down and went for it. I heard my name out there a lot, which was rad.”
Phinney said he began cramping on the last climb.
“It was delicious,” Phinney joked. “Didn’t get the big result today, but as a team we were really aggressive.”
Phinney’s famous cycling parents, Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter Phinney, both assumed Taylor made the move when he did because the weather was clearly about to worsen.
“This course didn’t favor a solo rider because it had that hill and you could see him from a long ways out, but I’m proud of him for making the effort,” Davis said. “You never know, you’ve got to try.”
Connie said if the peloton had hesitated just a little, Taylor might have had a chance to keep the lead.
“But they weren’t giving him any slack,” Connie said. “I think his reputation precedes him. I think it was nice that he gave it a shot, and that’s what he’s here for.”
Murphy had help from teammates Joe Lewis and Miguel Bryon over the last kilometer, setting him up for the sprint to the line.
“It was pretty wet and wild out there,” Murphy said. “We had really good position coming into the last turn, a little more than a kilometer to go. Miguel was my last guy. He takes me to 250 (meters left) and I was able to deliver my sprint.”
Jenn Valente, who won the women’s 39-mile race in the morning, is better known as a track cyclist, having won a silver medal in team pursuit at last summer’s Olympics.
“The two are very different,” said Valente, who is from San Diego but attends the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. “This season I was trying to switch things up. Being always in the track environment is very high-paced and can wear on you a little bit. Adding some road allows me to get some racing in my legs but having fun with it.”