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"But I just put my head down and I spent a lot of time and a lot of energy pushing through those last eight or nine seconds. I have had 15 months to think about putting my hands up in the air. It was everything that I thought it would...

Photo: Sirotti

BRENT BOOKWALTER

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

TAYLOR PHINNEY

RIDER PROFILE
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NEWS

USA PRO CYCLING CHALLENGE

RACE PROFILE
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NEWS
18.08.2015 @ 14:49 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

BMC Racing Team's Taylor Phinney dazzled his home state crowd Monday by sprinting to victory in the opening stage of the USA Pro Challenge.

 

Racing for only the eighth time since returning from a potentially career-ending crash in May of 2014, Phinney fought back after losing contact with the peloton on the final climb of the 155.5-kilometer race that started and ended in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

"I actually got dropped but made it back," Phinney said. "It was kind of what I like to call 'a Davis Phinney special,' where you get dropped and then come back and win," he said, referring to his father, Davis, the winningest cyclist in U.S. history and multi-time Tour de France stage winner.

 

"Because nobody had started to help us; Cannondale pulled their riders from pulling, and Trek wasn't going to pull, Saxo wasn't going to pull, and I think it sort of turned into a little bit of an of an ego thing within the teams," he said. "And then the guys started going, and I was sitting on the wheels going, ‘This is really hard. I don't enjoy this. I thought we weren't going to do this.'"


"I knew I don't have the pop to beat some of the best bunch sprinters in the group," Phinney continued. "So I just thought I would 'diesel style it' and go early. I didn't think I was going to be able to win until maybe 100 meters to go and then I had a slight moment of panic because I thought I was going to lose it. But I just put my head down and I spent a lot of time and a lot of energy pushing through those last eight or nine seconds. I have had 15 months to think about putting my hands up in the air. It was everything that I thought it would be.

 

"I am not a climber. I can survive some climbs, but a mountain top finish is not my cup o' tea. So our plan is going to be to focus more on the GC guys coming into the race.

 

"I'll just kind of prance around in yellow for a couple of hours. It's going to be a difficult prance, but that's how this race is and that's why we love it here."


Teammate Brent Bookwalter finished third, behind Kiel Riejnan (UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team), as Phinney notched the BMC Racing Team's fourth win in the past three days and its 26th of the season.

BMC Racing Team Sport Director Jackson Stewart said the results – which included Phinney leading the sprint and "best Colorado rider" classifications and the BMC Racing Team leading the team standings – "totally surprised" him.

"We definitely didn't plan that today," Stewart said. "It was really great teamwork there. We had to control the race and we had to make it hard on the climb and Taylor was a big part of that. All of the guys really contributed today. It is a testament to the depth of our team."

Heading into the final 15 kilometers, it looked like BMC Racing Team's Rohan Dennis would be contesting the stage win. The Tour de France stage winner and past world hour record broke away with Canadian national road champion Guillaume Boivin (Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies). The pair led by as much as 25 seconds with five kilometers to go, but Boivin – who had been in the day's breakaway – refused to share the workload and the two were caught with a  kilometer to go.

 

“I took the opportunity,” Dennis told Cyclingnewsafter the stage. “It could have paid off. It didn’t for me, but it did for Taylor in the end, so I suppose you could have a crack and it was good training.”

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