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“He was feeling better yesterday in training and he’s coming up here full of motivation for the next couple of weeks and we’re glad to see him back,” BMC manager Allan Peiper said.

Photo: Sirotti

GENT-WEVELGEM

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GREG VAN AVERMAET

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TAYLOR PHINNEY

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29.03.2014 @ 18:24 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

Taylor Phinney’s dreams to negotiate Milano-Sanremo historic parcours have been crushed when the 23-year old American fell ill just 48 hours before the race kicked off in Lombardy’s capital city. What was initially expected to be a short break from racing has been unexpectedly extended into a two-week rest period, but witty BMC manager Allan Peiper still believes that the young time trialist can deliver satisfying results this classics season.

 

Phinney’s return to racing has been postponed several times, with first announcement saying that the BMC rider would participate in Dwars door Vlaanderen, then in E3 Harelbeke. Apparently the 23-year old American managed to pass a medical check-out in his third attempt and is expected to line up in tomorrow’s Gent-Wavelgem.

 

“He’s coming in today for Gent-Wevelgem. He was feeling better yesterday in training and he’s coming up here full of motivation for the next couple of weeks and we’re glad to see him back,” Peiper told Cyclingnews in Harelbeke.

 

“On Sunday he’ll be starting at Gent-Wevelgem, which is good.”

 

Peiper explained that Phinney’s prolonged recovery period was to make sure the illness won’t strike back shortly after his return and he will be ready for team’s biggest targets of the cobbled season – Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix – as an important part of their classics unit.

 

“You’ve got to find the balance. There’s no point in bringing him here if he’s not ready,” Peiper said.

 

“I think it’s a fine line because he felt good out training yesterday but possibly a couple of days extra just to get really on top of it is important for him. We’ve still got a week to Flanders and two weeks to Roubaix to get a bit of work done, so hopefully he’ll be at the level.”

 

The flu, certainly weakening young American’s organism was a huge blow after he posted very promising results earlier this season, highlighted by a victory in the inaugural Dubai Tour. However, Peiper still insisted it was better to take Phinney out of competition than unwisely count on lack while trying to keep the ball rolling.

 

“He’s been good, so hopefully it’s just a quick bounce back,” Peiper said.

 

“He went very deep at Paris-Nice, so the sickness has probably put him back but I think he should be pretty fine and do a good job.”

 

Even though Phinney is regarded the important part of BMC’s classics unit, in-form Greg Van Avermaet was finally provided with a chance to become a sole leader for Flemish races after it was decided that Philippe Gilbert will concentrate exclusively on Ardennes this year in an attempt to regain some of his magnificent 2011 spark.

 

“I think he loves it,” Peiper said. “He loves the fact that he’s finally got leadership and he’s looking forward to taking that responsibility.”

 

“He was good in Milan-San Remo, he attacked on the descent of the Poggio and got away there. In a race like that in such brutal conditions he showed that he’s really on top of his game and he’s our outright leader for the classics coming up, which makes sense and makes things quite simple, doesn’t it?”

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