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“For me it’s going to be about being in the front and following the big guys. That’s what I missed last year because I just didn’t have the legs to make that selection,” Taylor Phinney said.

Photo: Sirotti






09.04.2014 @ 18:29 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Taylor Phinney’s condition ahead of his debut in the Ronde van Vlaanderen was very uncertain, as the young American was forced to withdraw from several cobbled classics due to a flu caught two days before the Milano-Sanremo. However, the BMC rider proved his qualities as a promising classics specialist, emerging as a strongest rider of a breakaway and playing a team game perfectly by setting up his leader, Greg van Avermaet, for the finale.


But while Phinney hoped to avoid the carnage unfolding behind his back in his de Ronde debut last Sunday, inspired by his latest results, we will line up at the Paris-Roubaix with entirely different ambitions.


The 23-year old BMC rider knows exactly what it takes to excel on the cobbled parcours of the Hell of the North – enough to say that he is a former double winner of the Under 23 version of the event, but there’s still a lot of improvement to be done in order to enjoy a similar success as a professional rider.


“Sometimes you have the legs and sometimes you don’t. When the big guys went, I just could not follow,” he admitted but with the confidence that he has the condition to be in the shake-up this time around.


“I’m definitely not at the level of Boonen and Cancellara at their best, when they can seemingly just ride away from the other best riders in the world but I think I’m better [than last year] in the sense that I will have the legs to make that selection when it happens,” Phinney told reporters in Kortrijk. “From then on out, it’s a lot of playing your cards right, responding well to moves and not wasting too much energy.”


While lining up at the Paris-Roubaix for the third time, Phinney’s best record was obtained during his debut in 2012 when he finished fifteenth, but even though the result itself looks respectable, in fact the BMC time trialist was so far unable to make the final selection in the cobbled event.


“I sort of survived through the race and people were coming back and then I just sprinted out of a group and got 15th place. That was sort of the simple way to do things but it’s much different when you’re out in front playing for the win. We’ll see how that works out,” Phinney said.


Despite his recent health problems, Phinney remains optimistic about his chances to finally make the selection in the coming Paris-Roubaix, inspired by his improved performances in the cobbled classics earlier this season – especially seventh place finish at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad


“That’s the first time in a major one-day race I’ve been up there with that select group of 20 or guys going for the win,” said Phinney, who will be buoyed also by his solid display at the Tour of Flanders following the illness that kept him out of Milan-San Remo and E3 Harelbeke.


The 23-year old BMC rider also admitted that the Paris-Roubaix route, compared to the Ronde van Vlaanderen hilly parcours, is not only better suited to his characteristics as a strong time trialist, but he finds the positioning much easier ahead of the flat stretches of cobbles.


“At Roubaix it seems like it’s a bit easier to be at the front when you need to be, although maybe that’s just me because I’m not thinking about a climb coming up,” he said. “I find it’s easier to fight before a flat cobbled section and expend energy that way, rather than think about going into the Kwaremont or Paterberg or something like that.


“For me it’s going to be about being in the front and following the big guys. That’s what I missed last year because I just didn’t have the legs to make that selection of those twenty guys that decided the race in the front.”



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