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Taylor Phinney had plenty of time to celebrate his solo victory. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)
Taylor Phinney had plenty of time to celebrate his solo victory. (©BMC/Graham Watson.)

Amgen Tour, Stage 5: Phinney Solos Into Santa Barbara

16. maggio 2014

Taylor Phinney of the BMC Racing Team broke away 25 kilometers from the finish Thursday at the Amgen Tour of California and held off the charging pack on the run-in to the oceanside finish in Santa Barbara to earn his third victory of the season.

Targeted The Stage
Phinney crouched low on his BMC timemachine TMR01 to roll away from a group of about four dozen riders on the descent of San Marcos Pass, the final climb of the 172.9-kilometer race. Rapidly gaining a 40-second advantage, the third-place finisher in the Stage 2 individual time trial saw his lead pegged back to 25 seconds. But Phinney put in a final charge and had time to freewheel, take a bow and thrust both hands in the air while enjoying a 12-second margin of victory. "I kind of pinpointed this race as a target, as a stage I could do well in," Phinney said. "I was nervous about the climb. I was nervous about the heat. Once we got on the climb, I knew I was going to be able to stay with the group and at least sprint for top three and maybe get on the podium again. But to do what I did is kind of one of those things where you get to the finish and you're like, 'How did I do that?' And why did I do that?"

Most Courageous Rider
Phinney's bold solo attack – which was reminiscent of his seven-kilometer solo victory last August on Stage 4 of the Tour de Pologne – earned him Amgen’s "Breakaway from cancer" most courageous rider jersey. His victory added to a stage win and the overall title at the Dubai Tour in February. Peter Sagan (Cannondale Pro Cycling) finished second on the stage and Matthew Goss (ORICA-GreenEDGE) was third. BMC Racing Team's Greg Van Avermaet was also in the top 10 in eighth. Sport Director Max Sciandri came alongside Phinney in the BMC Racing Team's Acura TSX Sport Wagon in the final five kilometers as a group of about four dozen gave chase from behind. "I think Cannondale was a little bit short and a couple of the Orica guys were coming through, but they really didn't make a difference," Sciandri said. "I was kind of holding my breath there. I just needed to go and give Taylor a few shouts and he took care of the rest."

Plenty Of Help From Teammates
Earlier in the stage, Phinney enjoyed a comfortable ride in the peloton as teammate and Swiss national road champion Michael Schär was part of a six-man breakaway that was never granted more than four minutes of freedom. "I had a lot of help from they team today," Phinney said. "Larry Warbasse, Greg Van Avermaet and Thor Hushovd, especially. They just rallied around me and it's always nice to to have that. It's good for the confidence. You believe in yourself a little bit more when you have a team that believes in you." Sciandri said he is hoping for more success in the last three days of the eight-day race that started in Sacramento and finishes in Thousand Oaks. BMC Racing Team's Peter Stetina sits sixth, 2:28 off the overall lead of Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky). "Tomorrow we have the climb to Mountain High so wrap it up with a podium for Pete would be a successful week for us," he said.

Listen to complete comments from Phinney and Sciandri on the BMC Racing Team's Audio Line.

See photos from the race on the BMC Racing Team's Flickr gallery.