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"I want to be a key factor in those last 50km and be able to play along with my teammates. Hopefully Thor and Greg will be up there, and some of the other guys, and we can play our cards," Taylor Phinney said.

Photo: Sirotti




11.04.2014 @ 10:30 Posted by Aleksandra Górska

There were numerous doubts concerning Taylor Phinney’s condition ahead of his Ronde van Vlaanderen debut last Sunday, but the 23-year old American emerged as the strongest rider of the day’s early breakaway and played a team game perfectly, letting Greg Van Avermaet saving all the energy for the finale. But while young time trialist hoped to avoid the carnage unfolding behind his back in the first of cobbled monuments, inspired by his latest results, he will line up at the Paris-Roubaix with entirely different ambitions.


"Paris-Roubaix is my favourite one-day race of the season and it’s been my biggest goal, thinking back to the winter and my training. So I am happy to be here healthy and with good fitness. I have big goals for this weekend as well as the team," Phinney told reporters at the team press conference at their Kortrijk hotel.


"Sunday was definitely big for me. I was really happy with the effort that I put in and how my legs felt. I’ve been pretty low-key this week. It’s one thing to be in these races, but it’s something else to be in the break all day and pushing all day so I definitely took it easy this week and it was a great effort leading into this Sunday."


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.


Even though Phinney proved his quality as a promising classics rider as he was the last man from a breakaway to be reeled in by significantly reduced peloton, a long stint at the front left him “surviving” through the ultimate 45 kilometers of the Ronde van Vlaanderen last Sunday. However, on the route definitely more suitable for the 23-year old time trialist, the BMC rider hopes to make the final selection and become a key factor this weekend.


"I want to be a key factor in those last 50km and be able to play along with my teammates. Hopefully Thor and Greg will be up there, and some of the other guys, and we can play our cards, have some fun and do our race from the front. I can never be sure that I’ll be there but that’s my big goal to be up there."


Phinney has also admitted that apart from the history and undeniable beauty of the brutal Hell of the North, there are some more prosaic reasons explaining his fondness for the Paris-Roubaix.


"In a sport where I’m one of the biggest riders, I don’t have many advantages when it comes to racing normal races, because there are always climbs. I weigh a fair amount more than Nairo Quintana, who is sprinting away from me. For guys like Thor and I, it’s one of our only chances to have an advantage. I think that’s why we like the race so much.


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. The young American hopes that gained experience will eventually bear fruit in the 2014 edition of the brutal affair.


"You get stronger every year, it’s not a race that you can dive in and just expect to do really well. I kind of survived the last couple of edition and was up there, but I was either working for the team in the beginning, like the first year, or getting a little bit too excited like last year, and I kind of put myself out of the race. I have learned a lot with regards to experience and being patient and it’s the same in a lot of these one-day classics."



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