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Taylor Phinney retires from professional cycling

The 29-year-old hangs up his wheels to focus on life away from cycling. Photo: Chris Blott

Joe Robinson
17 Oct 2019

Taylor Phinney will end his career at the Japan Cup this weekend as he announced his retirement from professional cycling. The American will bring a premature end to his career at the age of 29 concluding a career defined by raw talent, distinct individualism and grave ill-fortune.

In a press release from his Education First team, Phinney said: 'This decision has been something that I've been back and forth struggling with for a long time, and by a long time I mean a couple of years, and ultimately, I feel like my body sort of made this choice for me.

'I've now been injured longer than I've not been injured as a professional athlete. And I felt that it was a good time to click out and trade in my chips and get out of the casino.'

It was rumoured that Phinney would hang up his wheels at the end of the season, with the rider out of contract and yet to confirm his future deep into October. The American had not raced on the road since the RideLondon Classic in August.

Son of 7-Eleven rider David Phinney and 1984 Olympic road race champion Connie Carpenter, Phinney was destined to ride his bike for a living.

Naturally gifted, he was back-to-back junior individual pursuit champion and junior Paris-Roubaix champion in 2009 and 2010, results that propelled him into the WorldTour with BMC Racing in 2011.

He won the opening prologue at the 2012 Giro d'Italia, wearing the pink leader's jersey for three stages. Later that summer, he finished fourth in both the Olympic road race and time trial in London.

Phinney was progressing as one of the world's best time trial specialists until 2014 when a heavy crash at the US national road race saw him sustain a compound fracture to his tibia and a severed patellar tendon.

A 14 month recovery period saw Phinney slowly return to the pro peloton in August 2015 but unfortunately never to the levels he once promised.

There were occasional flashes of brilliance like his eighth at the 2018 Paris-Roubaix but ultimately Phinney failed to fully recover mentally, something he is fully aware of in retirement.

'I'm grateful that people would like to see me do amazing things on a bicycle. But the reality is, being touted as something, having talent or being told that you have talent,' said Phinney.

'Talent is nothing without work ethic, and work ethic comes from a genuine passion for what you're doing. And if you are constantly forcing your work ethic because your passion is elsewhere, then potential and talent mean nothing.

'And if there's anything that I can take away from the sport of cycling it's that, you can be as talented as you want, but if you don't wake up every morning and you don't want that thing, it doesn't matter.'

Phinney will now retire to his Boulder, Colorado home to focus on making music, art and being his 'true self'.