BMC Racing Team’s Taylor Phinney completed a wire-to-wire victory Saturday at the Dubai Tour – while also earning best young rider honors – and teammate Steve Cummings was runner-up.
Keeping Pace With Expectations
Phinney won the Stage 1 individual time trial Wednesday, added one second to his lead with third place on Stage 2 and finished the race with a 15-second cushion on Cummings and 17 seconds ahead of Lasse Norman Hansen (Garmin-Sharp), in third. The overall victory at a stage race is Phinney’s first in four years as a professional and marks the BMC Racing Team’s third win of the season. “This was an important victory for Taylor and the BMC Racing Team,” President/General Manager Jim Ochowicz said. “Taylor has shown his maturity in leading the team throughout the week and the team is keeping pace with our expectations for 2014.” The BMC Racing Team also took home the team classification, helped along by newcomer Peter Velits, who finished ninth overall.
Phinney Credits Teammates
Phinney said his offseason preparation laid the groundwork for success. “I haven’t had a problem-free winter, injury or sickness-wise, ever,” he said. “This was my first solid winter. I had a great time in the U.S. with my friends in Boulder, Colorado, and a really solid month of training in San Diego. And always with my personal soigneur/personal massage therapist with me. I invested a lot into this year. I knew it was a very important year so I’m super happy starting the season this way.” The past U.S. national time trial champion also thanked his teammates. “Every day, I was relieved about having a great team around me,” he said. “They gave me a lot of confidence.” Joining Phinney, Cummings and Velits on the winning squad were Yannick Eijssen, Norwegian national road champion Thor Hushovd, Klaas Lodewyck, Sebastian Lander and Rick Zabel.
Competition Was Tough
Like it did on Stages 2 and 3, the BMC Racing Team worked hard to preserve Phinney’s lead, chasing down a three-man breakaway near the end of Saturday’s 123-kilometer race. In the end, Marcel Kittel (Team Giant-Shimano) earned his third straight stage win by out-sprinting Mark Renshaw (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) and Andrea Guardini (Astana Pro Team). “We never really had problems,” Cummings said. “Taylor was outstanding, so it’s pretty good to finish second to him when he’s so strong in the time trial. I thought the whole team rode really well as a unit and gelled well.” Sport Director Max Sciandri said it might have looked easy, but preparing for the type of race he thought it would be was key. “You come here early in February and the competition is tough,” he said. “Just look at the field. I kind of knew that the time trial was going to determine the overall of this race – a bit like in China (the Tour of Beijing) the first year, when they had a time trial. So that was planned really well and executed to perfection by two of our guys.”
Listen to complete comments from Cummings, Phinney, Sciandri on the BMC Racing Team Audio Line: