Taylor Phinney looked disappointed after losing the Giro d'Italia leader's jersey to Garmin-Barracuda's Ramunas Navardauskas in circumstances in which he normally would have performed, but he wasn't able to ride at his normal level during the stage 4 team time trial.
Phinney's BMC Racing Team only finished tenth in Verona and lost 31 seconds to their American rivals. As a result Phinney dropped from first to fifth on general classification, 13 seconds behind the 24-year-old Lithuanian.
"I feel guilty," he said at the finish line. "The team has waited for me on several occasions. Normally in a team time trial I'm one of the strongest. Today, I was a weight for BMC. I feel sorry for Marco Pinotti and Thor Hushovd who could have taken the pink jersey in the coming days. I've made them lose some time. I thank my teammates for dragging me to the finish. They could have let me down and continue without me. I wasn't good today."
Phinney emphasized that his poor performance was not a consequence of his injured ankle that needed three stitches after his crash on stage 3 in Denmark. He was able to pedal normally but his body was empty. It might have been kind of a depression after the crashes and the emotion surrounding the maglia rosa.
"I don't why," he said. "I just had no power. Fortunately, I haven't crashed today."
He came close to crashing again, though. Phinney went off the road on a turn but remained upright and returned to the tarmac with some grass in his derailleur.
"I was right on his wheel when it happened," Phinney's teammate Alessandro Ballan told Cyclingnews. "It's been a big fright. Taylor has tried his best. He wanted to keep the pink jersey at any cost. But he wasn't the same Taylor as at the Giro del Trentino when we won the team time trial. It's just bad luck. We've done the maximum we could."
"It's been an honor to wear this jersey," Phinney said of his three magical days in pink. "I would have liked to keep it for longer."