Taylor Phinney lived a dream and rode into the Giro d’Italia’s pink jersey today. The American of BMC Racing ripped around the 8.7-kilometre course in Herning to post a time of 10-26 minutes.
“It has been a few months I’ve been thinking of this jersey, this moment. From October of last year, we fixed the programme to come here,” 21-year-old Phinney said moments after taking the win. “For me it’s a dream to have this jersey.”
Geraint Thomas (Sky) held the best time at 10-35 minutes, but saw Phinney come over the line nine seconds faster. In the previous days, he rode the course more than any other cyclist it seemed. After the press conference on Thursday, he went back out on his bike at 7:30 in the evening to prepare.
“I live in Tuscany, I speak Italian, I went to middle school in Italy, I’ve been surrounded by the pink jersey since I was little,” he said in the press conference. “I’ve had it as the screen saver on my computer and on my phone for the last few months. I have like a school-boy crush on the jersey.”
Phinney as a child lived with his parents in Italy while they organised on bike tours in Veneto. His dad, Davis is a former pro and won two stages of the Tour de France. His mom is Connie Carpenter, a former speed skater and cyclist
He now lives with several other Americans in Tuscany. He recently moved from Lucca to Quarrata, where Great Britain’s academy used to be based. His focus, though, was on the opening stage of his second Grand Tour, 1800 kilometres away in Denmark.
“I’ve been nervous for a couple of weeks, but as the race got closer, I started to get less nervous. I slept in until 9:30 this morning and hung out all morning,” he continued at the finish line.
“We pre-rode the course 10 times over the last couple of days, but it was important to get on the course today before the race because the way they set up the barriers was a little bit different. It’s a good course for me and I just went out there and gave everything I’ve got. There was only one corner that I felt like I could have done a little better.”
Phinney rode with a spoked front wheel instead of the carbon tri-spoke Thomas used. Both went off under clear skies, but fought the wind and cold.
Tomorrow will be cold again and wind should sweep off the coast from the west and north. Local, Bjarne Riis said it won’t be hard, but it’s bound to blow riders across the road.
“We will see, I hope to keep it even tomorrow!” Phinney said of the jersey. “The stage in Verona is very important. I’ll take this jersey day by day.”
Taylor Phinney with mum, Connie
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