Congrats Taylor Phinney!!

Over the weekend our own Taylor Phinney, from Boulder Colorado, was the winner of the prologue of the Giro d’Italia. For those that are not cyclists it is a three week cycling race similar to the Tour de France. It is one the three “grand tours”, together with the races in France and Spain. Taylor is only 21, and it is only the third time an American has put on the leaders jersey. Awesome!
Today the race was flat so it was expected that he would continue to hold the jersey because generally the riders finish as a pack and all are given the same time as the winner as long as there are no gaps in the group. If… there are no unexpected crashes or problems. Watching this stages on TV is brutally boring, like Nascar, unless something happens to upset the norm.
Taylor was cruising along, 8 k from the finish comfortably in the pack when that is exactly what occurred. He touched wheels with another rider and went down, though he said afterward that he “tumbles well”. Then to make matters worse his chain came off so he couldn’t jump back on and get going right away. The team car containing the mechanic had to stop and get the bike fixed quickly so he was even further back. This was at a time when the pack was really cranking it up for the finish and moving away quickly.
First one teammate, then three others, dropped back to help him get caught up. For non cylists this demonstrates the value of the non stars that are in the race. They lined up to go as fast as possible with a very short time left in the race to get their guy back up to the pack. Using the drafting techniques in cycling they allowed Taylor to sit behind three guys in a train formation and went like crazy to get him back up to the group. And they made it.
Barring accidents Taylor should hold the jersey for a week or more since all of these stages are flat and generally the group will finish with the sprinters doing the racing at the end. Congrats Taylor! The hometown crowd is very happy to see you in the leaders jersey.

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