Team BMC Racing's Taylor Phinney Powers to Stage 1 Time Trial Victory in Giro d'Italia
Team BMC Racing's American time trial power house Taylor Phinney stunned the Danish spectators with an amazing performance on the roads of Herning, Denmark. Phinney won stage 1 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia finishing ahead of Team Sky's Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) and Team Garmin-Barracuda's Alex Rasmussen, who was riding on home turf in Denmark.
Team BMC Racing's American time trial power house Taylor Phinney stunned the Danish spectators with an amazing performance on the sunny and windy roads of Herning, Denmark (Watch video highlights - US only). Phinney won stage 1 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia finishing ahead of Team Sky's Geraint Thomas (Great Britain) and Team Garmin-Barracuda's Alex Rasmussen, who was riding on home turf in Denmark.
Phinney averaged more than 50 kilometers per hour in today's time trial stage and thereby became the third American pro cyclist in history to gain the privilege wear of wearing the famed maglia rosa leader's jersey.
Starting 17th-to-last of the 198 riders, Phinney blazed across the 8.7-kilometer course on his BMC timemachine TM01 in 00:10:26, nine seconds faster than runner-up and pre-stage favorite Geraint Thomas, who won a hard prologue in the Tour de Romandie late last month in convincing fashion.
In taking the lead of the three-week Giro d'Italia, Phinney joins Christian Vande Velde (2008) and Andy Hampsten (1988) as the only U.S. riders to lead the Giro in its 95-year history. Afterwards, the Boulder, Colorado resident told reporters he was confident heading into his first Giro d'Italia.
"I've been thinking about this for a really long time, this jersey and this win," Phinney said and continued "I knew warming up today I felt really good and I've done a lot to prepare for it. I have to thank the team for supporting me and putting me on the perfect trajectory to get to this race - especially Max Sciandri, who lives near me."
Phinney added he rode the course no less than ten times in the days leading up to the time trial, with his final reconnaissance being key. "It was important to get on the course today because of the way they set up the barriers," Phinney explained. "It was a little bit different than the way they were the other days."
Phinney said he would like to hold onto the race lead during the stages in Denmark, until the race returns to Italy for Stage 4 on Wednesday. "We'll take it day-by-day. But I'd like to keep it until at least the team time trial in Verona. To be able to sport it in Italy would be pretty special."
Denmark-based Team Saxo Bank, along with Danish riders such as Team Garmin-Barracuda's Alex Rasmussen - who finished 3rd today - however, reportedly intend to grab the leader's jersey from Phinney before the race leaves Denmark.
Hardly any cycling fans and analysts expected Bjarne Riis' Team Saxo Bank to deliver impressive performances in today's time trial, which took place in Riis' home town of Herning. However, Riis today proved the value of his great experience in cycling and his impressive ability to make the most of the talent available to him through his team roster.
Team Saxo Bank's Manuele Boaro left many Giro commentators speechless as he powered through the streets of Herning securing the fastest intermediate time and the temporary race lead when he crossed the finish line.
"Manuele did a magnificent time trial and he truly proves big class and I know much he has been looking forward to this. He disposed his energy really well throughout the course and I think he did his very best performance today. Of course, we wanted to win, but I can only be satisfied with Manuele's effort." Riis told Danish media he predicts that Boaro will finish in a top 10 position overall in the 2012 Giro d'Italia.
Boaro himself was happy with the support from the Danish Team Saxo Bank fans along the route in Herning and said he really gave it his all on the time trial bike today. "I dug really deep and I couldn't have gone any faster. Of course I wanted to win and I hope that Bjarne (Riis) is happy with my performance. The support from the crowd couldn't have been bigger and they gave me tail wind all the way to the finish line. Now, the race has begun and I'm looking forward to all three weeks."
Before Phinney, Team Sky's Geraint Thomas, however, put a stop to Boaro's dreams of winning the time trial. Thomas cut nine seconds off Boaro's finishing time and took the overall stage lead while Phinney was still powering through the Herning course.
"I think I measured it pretty well. I tried to carry my speed through the corners. In one or two I could have gone a bit faster, but losing by nine seconds I can't blame it on a couple of corners. Coming from the track, there's a temptation to try and sprint fast out of those corners but that would obviously take a lot out of me so it was all about judging it correctly which I think I did."
"I definitely tried to keep a bit back for the last 3k and that headwind and then I emptied the tank all the way to the line. It didn't feel amazing but I was obviously going okay and am happy to have been up there."
Tomorrow's 206 kilometer stage 2 of the 2012 Giro d'Italia will start and end in Herning, Denmark and the riders will be forced to struggle with the fierce winds, which dominate the Danish west coast. The route is feared by many of the favorites for the general classification.