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"The team believes in me, I believe in the team, and once we get into those little climbs, i"m confident in my ability to stay with the best guys. So we'll take it K by K tomorrow. Hopefully all goes well, but tomorrow's t...

Photo: BMC Racing Team (Continuum Sports, LLC)




06.02.2014 @ 17:22 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Taylor Phinney (BMC) defended his leader's jersey in the Dubai Tour in the perfect way when he beat some of the world's fastest sprinters to take 3rd on the second stage. Having originally not planned to do the sprint, he grabbed a sudden opportunity and is now looking forward to tomorrow's hilly stage that will be the toughest of the race.


BMC Racing Team's Taylor Phinney was third in Thursday's bunch sprint at the Dubai Tour to increase his overall lead by one second over teammate Steve Cummings with two days to go. Phinney earned a one-second time bonus for finishing behind stage winner Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) and runner-up Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling Team).


Phinney said his main goal was to stay safe and let the BMC Racing Team control the pace in the 122-kilometer race.


"The team rode really, really well as a unit," he said. "Rick Zabel and Sebastian Lander rode the whole day on the front and controlled everything and Yannick Eijssen, Steve Cummings and Klaas Lodewyck looked after me in the final."


Phinney said he was not aiming to win a second straight stage, but saw an opportunity 500 meters before the finish and decided to go for it.


"Some guys were pulling off and with a tail crosswind like that, you can gain a lot of speed from behind," he said. "I just started to pass everybody and did my own sprint. I started really early – maybe 300 meters out – but unfortunately started to die a bit with 75 meters to go.


"I knew with it being a tail cross sprint, mostly tailwind, that you could jump early and you could maybe stay, so I saw 500m to go and I was just moving up on the left side, and decided I'd just give it a really long sprint and see if I could take some of the pure sprinters by surprise," he added." I was thinking of staying safe and keeping the jersey and the best way of staying safe was just to sprint early and stay out of the carnage. I was really happy with 3rd place."


Originally, the team had decided to do the sprint for Thor Hushovd who had a puncture with 28km to go. In the end, the Norwegian got swamped but Phinney didn't know about the bad luck for the team's designated sprinter.


"I didn't know Thor punctured until you told me," he said. "It's definitely hectic in any race that's short, and then you put in the wind, it's a kind of cluster in the final. I wasn't thinking of going for the sprint. In the final couple of kilometres, everybody was all over the place, no team was really organised. We knew coming out of the tunnel that there was a big chance there could be really strong crosswinds so Klaus Lodewyck took me to the front, and I just stayed there and tried to stay safe."


Phinney is not known as a sprinter but it is well-known that he has a decent speed. Today's result was appreciated as he aims to improve in the discipline.


"I've been working a lot on my sprint and it's something I want to do better in, it's something that I have to physical capabilities to do well in, but it's a lot about timing and tactics and so any sprint that I can be up in the mix for is a good one," he said. "I've been racing against these guys since we were juniors, and now we are pros, I see their success and I say, 'Well, maybe I can still do this.'"


Friday's penultimate stage contains some undulating terrain near the end of the 162-km route when the riders leave Dubai to visit the desert. Phinney knows that he faces his hardest challenge but he is confident in his ability to keep the lead.


"Tomorrow's the biggest day," he said. "We're in the desert, and we'll see how the wind is when we're out there. It's going to be nervous. Crosswinds make this one of the most unpredictable sports in the world, so it's all about staying safe. The team believes in me, I believe in the team, and once we get into those little climbs, Im confident in my ability to stay with the best guys. So we'll take it K by K tomorrow. Hopefully all goes well, but tomorrow's the big test, I'm sure."

In the overall standings, Phinney leads Cummings by 15 seconds, with Lasse Norman Hansen (Garmin-Sharp) in third at 17 seconds. BMC Racing Team Sport Director Max Sciandri said he liked what he saw from the BMC Racing Team after three riders (Francisco Mancebo, Diogo Nunes and Willie Smit) escaped the clutches of the peloton. The trio enjoyed a nearly three-minute lead before being reeled in with 10 km to go.


"The team was really good," Sciandri said. "We have Thor Hushovd, who is an experienced guy, always looking after us. He's kind of the road captain. Taylor finished it off with a great sprint. But you never know what to expect when you look at these maps, especially with the wind and finishing on an island."


Starting at 10.45 CET you can follow our live coverage on You can read our preview of stage 3 here.



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