Taylor Phinney: “I have to thank the team for my Olympic fourth place”
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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Taylor Phinney: “I have to thank the team for my Olympic fourth place”

by Ben Atkins at 5:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Olympics
22-year-old American just misses out on the medals, but goes one better than his father

taylor phinneyTaylor Phinney came within a whisker of taking the United States’ first medal in the men’s Olympic road race since Alexi Grewal took Gold on the nations home roads, in Los Angeles 1984, the year that Phinney’s mother, Connie Carpenter also won the women’s race. With the Gold and Silver having gone up the road, with Kazakhstan’s Alexandre Vinokourov and Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran, Phinney found himself sprinting for a possible bronze on the Mall, but was unable to overcome Norwegian sprinter Alexander Kristoff in the dash for the line.

"Some would call fourth place the worst to arrive at the Olympics, but I won't focus on that,” he said. “I'll get over it but first I have to thank the team."

The 22-year-old, who won the opening time trial stage of the Giro d’Italia in May, was not alone in the large breakaway group as he was led to the line by Tejay van Garderen, who recently finished fifth in the Tour de France.

“Pretty amazing to have the white jersey at the Tour de France give up his ride for you, so it’s the least I could do to get fourth,” said Phinney after the finish. “Alexander Kristoff, I've never beaten him in a sprint before. He's a true sprinter and I wouldn't necessarily call myself that. I was beaten by a better man. It's too bad those two guys got off the front, but they deserve it if they could get away and Kristoff deserves the bronze.”

With fourth place Phinney follows in the wheel tracks of Bob Mionske in Seoul 1988, and Frankie Andreu in Barcelona 1992, but does go one better than his father Davis Phinney, who was fifth in 1984.

Like many of the other big teams in the race, the United States managed to get a rider into the early breakaway, in national champion Timmy Duggan, with Phinney and van Garderen bridging later on. The number of top riders in the front group put pressure on Great Britain to chase, but the home team was unable to close the race down; despite the nine laps around the Box Hill circuit, the break was able to stay away.

“The inside of my legs started cramping in laps eight and nine,” explained Phinney. “I really felt terrible in the last 40 kilometres. As we got closer to the finish, the crowds were so loud and Tejay had been doing such a good job, it kinda hit me that this is the Olympics and I'm going for a medal right now and this isn't going to happen again - at least not in the near future.”

Like many riders, Phinney was struck by the support given to the Olympic peloton by the thousands of spectators that line the London and Surrey course.

“It was a wall of sound,” said Phinney. “It definitely helped bring me home.”

Phinney will now look ahead to the Olympic time trial, which will start and finish at Hampton Court - Henry VII’s palace - on Wednesday, August 1st.


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