Taylor Phinney had a rocky start to the 2016 season, but found his World Championships form in the opening team time trial at Tirreno-Adriatico, where he helped the team to the stage victory over rivals Etixx-Quickstep.
Phinney said he was inspired by being reunited with teammate Tejay van Garderen – BMC’s hopeful for the overall victory in Tirreno-Adriatico – in their first race together since Phinney’s devastating crash with a motorbike in the 2014 USA national championships.
“This is a great group of guys, we all get along really well. It’s my first race back with Tejay since I came back – he wasn’t at the World Championships because he broke his shoulder [in the Vuelta a Espana -ed.],” Phinney told Cyclingnews.
Phinney returned from his severe leg injury after more than a year of rehabilitation and surgeries at the Tour of Utah last August. He went on to win the first stage in the USA Pro Challenge, and then helped to propel BMC to the world title in the team time trial in Richmond last fall.
However, his first races of 2016 – the Tour du Haut Var, Tour Cycliste International La Provence and Strade Bianche – didn’t go as well. But after a trip to Belgium to get some physiotherapy, Phinney seems to have re-found his speed in Italy.
“If there’s one thing I know I’m still good at, it’s team time trials. After racing in France last week, and feeling like I got beat up, it’s nice to come here, really close to where I used to live in Lucca, we’re only 30k away,” he said.
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