Phinney in pink before Stage 2. Photo courtesy of BMC Racing Team
Ever since Taylor Phinney won the Junior World Time Trial Championship in 2007, pundits have been saying that the Boulder, Colorado, native would eventually be one of the next big names in American cycling. Someday came sooner than expected yesterday, when, less than two years after turning pro, the 21-year-old won the Giro d'Italia's opening prologue and roared into the race lead.
Phinney blasted the technical, wind-strafed 8.7-kilometer time trial in 10 minutes and 26 seconds, beating his nearest competition by nine seconds. That might not sound like a lot, but in a discipline where wins and losses are often measured in tenths of seconds, it's an immense margin and speaks to Phinney's talent and promise. The son of cycling Olympic medalists Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter, the precocious American was no stranger to the upper echelons of cycling even before the win. By donning the maglia rosa, the pink jersey worn by the leader of the race, Phinney joins some rarefied company: He's the youngest rider to lead the Giro since Tour de France champ Laurent Fignon (1982), one of eight Americans to win a Giro stage (Greg Lemond and Tyler Hamilton among them), and only the third American to ever wear pink, after Andy Hampsten (1988) and Christian Vande Velde (2008).