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"It is something I’ve been thinking about for a little while. Whenever you’re able to take the jersey, it changes things a bit, and makes a stage win even more important," Phinney says

Photo: Sirotti






12.05.2014 @ 12:35 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Taylor Phinney showed excellent condition in yesterday's first stage of the Tour of California when he helped drive the first echelon in the crosswinds. Feeling strong, the American now hopes to take the leader's jersey in today's flat 20.1km time trial.


BMC Racing Team's Taylor Phinney finished ninth on Sunday's opening stage of the Amgen Tour of California after he and teammate Greg Van Avermaet were part of a breakaway midway through the race.  The BMC Racing Team riders made their escape just as an earlier six-man move was about to be caught with less than 60 kilometers to go in the 193.1-km race that started and finished in Sacramento.


Despite having two riders among the 15 in the breakaway, BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri called it "a dangerous move," since it contained Team Sky's Bradley Wiggins, one of the favorites for the overall.


"That's the only guy we really didn't want there," Sciandri said. "When the gap went up to 50 seconds and nearly a minute, I got a little worried. I tried to pass to go to the front since I didn't have radio contact with the riders. But then it came back together and then we kept Pete (Stetina) on the safe side and Taylor tried a little bit of a sprint."

Phinney was aggressive throughout the day, even counter attacking with Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) after the group's escape was pulled back with 22 km left.


"I just felt good and noticed Boonen was really strong," he said. "Collectively, we wanted to get rid of Matt Goss and Wiggins so we would have more of a chance to take it to the line." U


ltimately, the field reeled in every breakaway and Mark Cavendish (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) edged John Degenkolb (Team Giant-Shimano) for the win as Moreno Hofland (Belkin Pro Cycling Team) finished third. Winner of the Dubai Tour in February, Phinney's top 10 result was his first since a seventh-place finish at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in March.

Peter Stetina, the BMC Racing Team's leader, said he did his best to conserve energy with a 20.1-km individual time trial upcoming on Monday.


"I tried to stay as quiet as possible, but it was a hard day with those winds buffeting you all day," Stetina said. "But it was an honor being protected by all these guys. With our jersey color, I literally had the red carpet rolled out for me all day, which was pretty fun."


Phinney said his efforts in the breakaway should not affect his performance in the time trial. "I'm feeling super strong," he said.


“When I saw that there was a time trial on stage 2, and that it wasn’t a mountain time trial, I put that down as my goal, to win the stage," he told Velonews. "To take the jersey would be pretty cool.


"It is something I’ve been thinking about for a little while. Whenever you’re able to take the jersey, it changes things a bit, and makes a stage win even more important.


“It’s nice. I like it. I like a rolling time trial. It’s going to be really fast. It suits me pretty perfectly. If it were even shorter, that’d be better, but as it is, it gives Bradley a better chance.


“It’s going to go by really fast. It’s going to be hard to pace it; you’ll just need to go balls to the wall. Hopefully the wind doesn’t affect anything.”



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