Phinney plans to make a come­back to cy­cling at 2015’s Tour of Utah


Tay­lor Phinney had to en­dure such a long re­hab from a dev­as­tat­ing in­jury that the Olympic cy­clist picked up paint­ing and learned to fly a plane, just to help pass the time.

On Mon­day, he’ll get back to do­ing what he loves most.

The for­mer world pur­suit cham­pion and two-time na­tional time trial cham­pion will make his re­turn to rac­ing at the Tour of Utah, a seven-day stage race be­gin­ning in Lo­gan. It will be his first race since May 2014, when Phinney col­lided with a mo­tor­cy­cle dur­ing a down­hill sec­tion of the na­tional cham­pi­onships course and went ca­reen­ing into a guardrail.

The wreck left Phinney with a com­pound frac­ture of his tibia, a dis­lo­cated fibia, a shat­tered kneecap and a sev­ered patel­lar ten­don, putting his rac­ing fu­ture in ques­tion.

“Happy to an­nounce I’ll be rac­ing the Tour of Utah, start­ing Mon­day,” Phinney posted on Twit­ter ear­lier Fri­day. “Thank you to the many beau­ti­ful souls who have helped get me back!”

Phinney, among the sport’s most pop­u­lar riders, will be joined on his BMC Rac­ing Team by Peter Stetina, who is com­ing back from a sim­i­lar in­jury sus­tained at the Vuelta a Pais Vasco in April. The Amer­i­can rider crashed into a post in the road and broke his tibia and patella.

“Tay­lor has been work­ing very hard to get to where he is now and be­lieves that he is ready to race,” said BMC Rac­ing Team physi­cian Dr. Max Testa. “The team has no ex­pec­ta­tions of him. He will test his con­di­tion to see where his knee is and what kind of con­di­tion he has. From this race, he can gauge what the rest of the sea­son may look like.”

As for Stetina, Testa said “all of the doc­tors who have seen Peter can­not be­lieve his de­ter­mi­na­tion. He did not want to miss this op­por­tu­nity to re­turn to rac­ing in the U. S.”

The Tour of Utah, fol­low­ing on the heels of the Tour de France, be­gins an un­prece­dented run of high-level races in North Amer­ica. The USA Pro Chal­lenge is a cou­ple weeks later, and the Tour of Al­berta in Canada is also on tap, be­fore the world’s best con­gre­gate in Rich­mond, Vir­ginia, at the end of the Septem­ber for the world cham­pi­onships.

It will be the first time that worlds are held on Amer­i­can soil since 1986.

Phinney would have been among the fa­vorites in the time trial in Rich­mond, and he still has a shot at mak­ing the U.S. ros­ter. But he will have to prove his form quickly to earn the nod, and he un­doubt­edly be­lieves the Tour of Utah could be just the spring­board.

“He’s been work­ing hard, do­ing phys­i­cal ther­apy, rid­ing his bike,” said Jim Ochowicz, who runs the BMC Rac­ing Team. “We were hope­ful he’d be back rac­ing by the end of the year.

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