Neil Young was wrong. It’s not only love that can break your heart. Cycling can too. But with every thing that can make a fan crazy, furious, sad, and disillusioned, there are events that can restore the joy, excitement and pride to a fan’s heart. Yesterday, there was an event that pretty much overshadowed all the crap. After suffering an horrific injury last June; after going through surgeries and hundreds of hours of physio, day after day, and keeping a smile on his face; after being out of the peloton for more than 60 weeks, yesterday Taylor Phinney raced again. And it was the best day for cycling fans in a long, long time. And a pretty good day for Taylor as well. So in this special edition of Tweets of the Week, it’s all about That Boy Phinney. All of it.
So long ago
Let’s take it back to when Taylor was badly injured in the US Championships during the road race when he and a moto wanted the same line and he didn’t come out of it well. Clearly in distress, Lucas Euser stopped his own race for the title in order to stay with Taylor. Here are Taylor’s tweets just after that crash.
And up for it he was – and documenting a lot of it on Instagram! I’ve saved them all …
Taking the stitches out of his own leg. Yeah, I’d never do that.
While there must have been times when he was down, you never would know it from his attitude. He made sure that, if he couldn’t savour racing, he was going to savour everything else.
(I’m really hoping that hipster thing was just a phase.)
The peloton’s own Jackson Pollock (although maybe he’s a bit more Kandinsky or Basquiat).
I’m fairly sure I went to high school with a guy who looked just like that.
Always the fashion plate – love the sunnies.
So as we can see, Our Hero was out and about, wearing cool clothes, working hard on his fitness and strength. But it seemed we had a few false alarms as to when he was going to be back riding in the peloton – there was a rumour that he’d start in the Tour of Cali. It didn’t happen. I won’t lie, I was starting to worry. And then, this – one of the best tweets EVER.
And what did he do? Sit at the back, ease into racing? Hell NO! He bloody well went and did THIS!
United Healthcare’s Kiel Reijnen won the opening state of the Tour of Utah, followed by Alex Howes of Cannondale, and Our Hero – his first race back! – came in third. Because, you know what? He came to race, dammit. (I keep forgetting he’s so tall…)
(I had to include this picture because it looks like he’s one of those little dolls with the big heads.)
My timeline went CRAZY while the race was on – and it went crazy when the race was over. Everyone seemed overjoyed that Taylor was back and in fighting form. It made Monday more than bearable.
There was one disturbing thing about the day. The hat. I believe we were all bemused, at best, by this.
Then the press conference.
It might have been kind of a brutal day for you, Taylor, but it was a great day for the rest of us. Welcome back! We missed you so so much!