Bold move not enough for Phin­ney

Boul­der cy­clist fades af­ter lead­ing

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By John Meyer John Meyer: jmeyer@den­verpost.com or @john­meyer

COLORADO SPRINGS» Dis­sat­is­fied with the over­all pace of a race he found “hes­i­tant” for most of the af­ter­noon, Boul­der’s Tay­lor Phin­ney revved 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 at 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.”

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