No. 7: Cycling Phenom Taylor Phinney Dons the Maglia Rosa

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Taylor Phinney pulled on the very first maglia rosa of the 2012 Giro d’Italia and became the first American to wear the pink jersey since Christian Vande Velde in 2008. The 21-year old dominated the flat course and increased his pace in the final minutes on the 5.4 mile course to finish nine seconds ahead of British cyclist Geraint Thomas in 2nd. Just two stages later, Phinney needed three stitches to close a wound to his right ankle after a rough crash at high speed in the final meters of stage 3. Phinney followed up his time trial success from the Giro with a second place finish in the Road Cycling World Championships, finishing only 5.37 seconds behind defending champion Tony Martin.

“Already a five-time World Champion, Taylor’s win of the prologue of the 2012 Giro d’Italia made him the youngest American to ever lead a grand tour – and at only 21! He’s got massive potential, and at such a young age there’s no way to predict how high his career will soar. The way he delivers the power from his 6′ 4″ frame in a time trial is truly a thing of beauty.”

- Todd Gogulski – Universal Sports Cycling Analyst