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"He didn't have the OK from the doctor so he'll have one more day at home and then he'll be up here tomorrow evening for the weekend and the rest of the Classics," BMC sports director Max Sciandri said.

Photo: Sirotti








26.03.2014 @ 08:30 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

It was a huge blow for Taylor Phinney to withdraw from Milano-Sanremo due to illness as the young American claimed to be eager to try his legs on monument’s traditional route, after the removal of the new Pompeiana climb from this year’s parcous became definite. However, the BMC rider backed team’s decision to pull him out of competitions having the upcoming spring season’s objectives in sight, and after missing Dwars door Vlaanderen today the powerful 23-year old rider is expected to return in E3 Harelbeke on Friday.


"There's no point in coming when you're 90 percent or 70 percent, and we just want to make sure he's fully recovered," BMC directeur sportif Max Sciandri told Cyclingnews in Waregem on the eve of Dwars door Vlaanderen.


"He didn't have the ok from the doctor so he'll have one more day at home and then he'll be up here tomorrow evening for the weekend and the rest of the Classics."


Phinney’s withdrawal from Milano-Sanremo was one of the most surprising news on the eve of season’s first monument since the American seemed hugely excited ahead of the event and any alarming symptoms weren’t reported. However, Sciandri believes that even though his illness developed quickly, it had its genesis at the Paris-Nice held in the previous week.


"Steve Cummings didn't start on the last day - a little bit of flu - and I think Taylor got it after that, as they were sharing a room," Sciandri explained.


"It was a shame for him that he didn't do San Remo, but we just want to make sure he's 100 percent for the Classics."


BMC sports director confirmed that Phinney was heartbroken not to participate in this year’s edition of La Primavera, not only due to his never hidden affection for its original route, but also apparent penchant for riding in unfavorable, wet and cold weather conditions – certainly being an important factor in the event concluded last Sunday. The 23-year old time trialist was also eager to improve on a promising seventh place taken in his second participation in Milano-Sanremo last season.


"Yeah, I texted him a little bit while he was watching it on TV," Sciandri said.


"He was a bit disappointed, of course, especially because he likes those gritty, dirty days, those cold days, but unfortunately that's bike riding. You prepare a lot for the classics and then something comes up. Still, hopefully it will give him strength and morale for the races to come."


Following Phinney’s absence and Philippe Gilbert’s altered approach to classics season, BMC will line up in Dwars door Vlaanderen today with a rather experimental combination of riders. Even though experienced Daniel Oss was appointed a captain of the American team, the Italian has just kicked off his 2014 season due to injury and is not likely to excel on cobbles that early considering his last week’s performances in Nokere Koerse and Handzame Classic concluded with DNF and 71st place respectively.


"We've also got [Klaas] Lodewyck and [Danilo] Wyss coming off San Remo who are a little bit tired, but we have some very interesting young guys like [Silvan] Dillier and [Rick] Zabel, and we're going to give them a bit of a chance," Sciandri said.


"We'll see how it goes - it's the beginning of the series and we'll step into it."


Just like many other World Tour outfits, BMC decided to save their key classics riders, including their captain Greg van Avermaet, for the more important events – E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wavelgem – coming later this week. Omega Pharma-Quick Step’s Tom Boonen would be the only exception as the Belgian needs to clock more kilometers after he was forced to withdraw from Milano-Sanremo due to personal reasons.


Regarding the absence of his main contenders and a very strong team riding in his support, Boonen is a clear favorite to take the spoils in Dwars door Vlaanderen today and Sciandri laments Phinney’s lost opportunity to shine.


"It was never in Greg's plans. Sunday took a lot out of lot of riders and he needs another couple of days of recovery," Sciandri said.


"Boonen is the opposite because he needs the racing. It would have been great for Taylor too, but unfortunately that's how it is."



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