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"I would consider this my first pro stage race victory. There were no World Tour teams when I won Olympia's Tour in 2010. So This is a big step for me, to step into the team leader's jersey. It's a role I feel comfortable i...

Photo: Sirotti






08.02.2014 @ 16:36 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

Taylor Phinney (BMC) took the first big stage race victory of his career when he won the Dubai Tour overall after taking control of the race in the opening time trial. The BMC rider described it as a big step in his development after a race that also saw teammate Stephen Cummings take 2nd overall.

BMC Racing Team's Taylor Phinney completed a wire-to-wire victory Saturday at the Dubai Tour – while also earning best young rider honors – and teammate Steve Cummings was runner-up. Phinney won the Stage 1 individual time trial Wednesday, added one second to his lead with third place on Stage 2 and finished the race with a 15-second cushion on Cummings and 17 seconds ahead of Lasse Norman Hansen (Garmin-Sharp), in third.


The overall victory at a stage race is Phinney's first in four years as a professional and marks the BMC Racing Team's third win of the season.


"This was an important victory for Taylor and the BMC Racing Team," President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. "Taylor has shown his maturity in leading the team throughout the week and the team is keeping pace with our expectations for 2014."


The BMC Racing Team also took home the team classification, helped along by newcomer Peter Velits, who finished ninth overall.

Phinney Credits Teammates
Phinney said his offseason preparation laid the groundwork for success.


"I haven't had a problem-free winter, injury or sickness-wise, ever," he said. "This was my first solid winter. I had a great time in the U.S. with my friends in Boulder, Colorado, and a really solid month of training in San Diego. And always with my personal soigneur/personal massage therapist with me. I invested a lot into this year. I knew it was a very important year so I'm super happy starting the season this way."


The past U.S. national time trial champion also thanked his teammates.


"Every day, I was relieved about having a great team around me," he said. "They gave me a lot of confidence."


Joining Phinney, Cummings and Velits on the winning squad were Yannick Eijssen, Norwegian national road champion Thor Hushovd, Klaas Lodewyck, Sebastian Lander and Rick Zabel.


Phinney has only won a UCI stage race once before, the 2010 Olympia Tour, which is at a lower level. Having won a race with such an impressive line-up is a big breakthrough for the young American.


"I would consider this my first pro stage race victory," he said. "There were no World Tour teams when I won Olympia's Tour in 2010. So this is a big step for me, to step into the team leader's jersey. It's a role I feel comfortable in and I feel I can slip into it easily. I like being motivational with my team-mates. I love it when you see guys give everything for you. I'm really grateful to them because I've been that guy too: you do the work because it's your job, but also to be recognised for it. Cycling is a team sport, even if I'm the one who is the face of winning this first Tour of Dubai. I couldn't have done it without the team."


The Dubai Tour may only be a 2.1 race but it had a star-studded line-up that made Phinney even more proud of his win.


"I'm super honoured," he said. "I'd like to see this race grow, and I'd like to be part of that growing process. It's a cool feeling to win the first edition. It's only four days, so it could grow in distance. RCS [organizers] has done a great job, and the city of Dubai has done a great job too, shutting down all these roads. We owe an apology to the people of Dubai for some traffic jams, but I think the race was a well received.


"It was a multi-faceted race in that we had a time trial and a rolling stage. There was some wind to deal with, too. And you couldn't draw a more high profile peloton, so on that side of things, they were spot on."


Phinney has had some difficult first seasons as a pro but has matured a lot by facing that kind of adversity.


"Over the past couple of years, I've realised I'm a bit more human that some of the other guys in the peloton," he said. "I kept growing during my first two years as a pro. It took me time to find a place where I'm comfortable and injury-free. I'm glad to be able to ride with the best guys on a stage like yesterday's, with a couple of climbs.


"I've put a lot of work in over the past two years. The arrival at the team of Alan Peiper, who believes in me, and felt that he could do good things if he held my race program in his hands, has been an important factor. I'm grateful to the team and I'm happy to have been able to come here. Bigger goals lie ahead and we'll see if I can tackle them in the way I've handled this Dubai Tour."
Competition Was Tough
Like it did on Stages 2 and 3, the BMC Racing Team worked hard to preserve Phinney's lead, chasing down a three-man breakaway near the end of Saturday's 123-kilometer race. In the end, Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Shimano) earned his third straight stage win by out-sprinting Mark Renshaw (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Andrea Guardini (Astana Pro Team).


"We never really had problems," Cummings said. "Taylor was outstanding, so it's pretty good to finish second to him when he's so strong in the time trial. I thought the whole team rode really well as a unit and gelled well."


Sport Director Max Sciandri said it might have looked easy, but preparing for the type of race he thought it would be was key.


"You come here early in February and the competition is tough," he said. "Just look at the field. I kind of knew that the time trial was going to determine the overall of this race – a bit like in China (the Tour of Beijing) the first year, when they had a time trial. So that was planned really well and executed to perfection by two of our guys."



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