Taylor Phinney retires from professional racing at 29

The EF Education First rider will end his career later this month

(Image credit: Getty Images for AEG)

Taylor Phinney has announced his retirement from professional racing at 29.

The EF Education First rider will call time on his career after years of suffering with injury, saying that his “passion is elsewhere” away from the bike.

His last race will be the Japan Cup on October 20.

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Phinney, from Boulder in the USA, was a prodigious talent in his younger years, winning the junior Paris-Roubaix in 2010 and claiming the under-23 time trial world title and multiple national TT jerseys.

In 2014, Phinney crashed during the USA National Championships road race and suffered career-threatening leg injuries.

He returned to racing after more than a year away from the peloton, but never reached the same heights as he struggled through further injury.

“It sounds funny that word, ‘retiring,’” Phinney said, “It doesn't really feel like that for me.

“This decision has been something that I've been back and forth struggling with for a long time, and by a long time I mean a couple of years, and ultimately, I feel like my body sort of made this choice for me. I've now been injured longer than I've not been injured as a professional athlete.”

Phinney started his career with Trek-Livestrong in 2009 and made the jump to the WorldTour in 2011 with BMC Racing, where he spent the next six years.

He then joined Cannondale-Drapac, now EF Education First, in 2017.

Career highlights include victory in the prologue of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, which put him into the pink jersey, three US national TT titles, and top-10 finishes in both Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix.

He added: “At some point, you don't want to just be lining up for races to finish them. It's time to take that energy and put it into something fresh, something new, something unknown.

“I’m stepping away so that I can be more true to myself, which means to make art, to make music, to create and cultivate. I've kind of had one foot in the sports pool and then one foot in the art pool, and art just won at some point.”

Phinney’s career was closely watched from a young age as he is the son of cycling greats Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter-Phinney, and in the early years he delivered on the expectation.

But the 2014 crash, in which he suffered an open compound fracture of the tibia, a severed patellar tendon and lost chunks of his kneecap, changed Phinney both physically and mentally.

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Phinney added: “I'm grateful that people would like to see me do amazing things on a bicycle. Talent is nothing without work ethic, and work ethic comes from genuine passion for what you're doing. And if you are constantly forcing your work ethic because your passion is elsewhere, then potential and talent mean nothing.

“I feel like I've been basically preparing for this for a while now, cultivating the ability to voice my honest opinion and say: ‘I think that I don't want to do this anymore.’”

He added that may see him racing his mountain bike next year however.