Phinney limped into the finish in last place, two minutes behind the final group on the road and over 40 minutes behind stage winner Primoz Roglic (LottoNL-Jumbo).
While the race for stage honours was up the road, Phinney was fighting his own personal battle along with the other non-climbers to make the time cut. Then, some of the bad fortune that regularly attends cycling races struck.
"I just was in a group, we were about to go down the descent before the Col d'Aubisque," said Phinney. "I don't know, I just hit a bump or something and just got off-balance. I ended up going face first into the trees."
"I tried to get the doctor to straighten out my nose as quickly as possible. I could feel (touches his nose gingerly at this point) that it's maybe not straight. I was like 'put me back on my bike, I can do this'. I've had concussions before, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't putting myself at risk."
Phinney has a long history with bad accidents. In 2014, he crashed out of the US national road race, suffering a compound fracture in his leg. It took a number of years for Phinney to race at a level approaching his best again and a long process that involved finding his love of cycling again.
"I do a lot of work mentally to kind of know where I am, as far as being stable," said Phinney. "So I was just checking in. The first couple of minutes were a little bit weird but then I started riding and started to feel a bit better."
Phinney managed to finish the race inside the time cut and headed to the x-ray van at the finish to get scans on his nose. Further tests were performed at the local hospital, with the American revealed to have suffered two fractures; on to his nose and another to his right eye socket.
Phinney signed off in typical fashion.
"The fans were awesome, a couple of people were a little freaked out by the way I looked. I was just thinking about my dad and... Phinney-style, you know."