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Taylor Phinney (BMC) will ride his first Paris-Roubaix this weekend
American helped Ballan to podium finish
"I had really good legs today. I had no mishaps and no crashes and no flats. It was the perfect combination," Phinney told Cyclingnews.
Phinney hardly rode his own race. With around 100 kilometres to go he was at the front of the bunch setting the pace for his team, leading them and the peloton into several sectors of cobbles.
"I did a lot of work for the guys. I tried really hard to get in the break, missed that and then helped out on the front going into some big sections like the Arenberg."
Twice a winner of the U23 version of the race, Phinney was selected by BMC despite missing out on a place in their Flanders team the week before. Paris-Roubaix is a race that suits his skill-set more than the bergs of Flanders.
"Every time I was on the cobbles I felt at home in a sick and twisted way, and if I was too far back I would just move up. Even in the Arenberg I went into it in 30th wheel but then moved up to the front and then gave it a go. With 80 kilometres to go I was already having cramps but the team made sure I was eating and drinking.
"I'm really happy with the finish I had, with the amount of work that I did. I know Ballan would have liked better than third but he's been so consistent throughout the whole Classics season so far. It's amazing. He's one of the best teammates and I love working for him."
Phinney has made no secret of his passion for Paris-Roubaix. While there remains a sizeable gap between his ride and that of the present day contenders, he has time on his side to improve. And with compatriot and teammate George Hincapie contemplating retirement Phinney will be the US's major player in the race for the foreseeable future.
"This is my kind of race. It's my favourite race in the entire calendar. There are little to no hills and I love riding over cobblestones so it's tailor made for me. I knew that I could finish in the top-20 if I was going on a top day. It's a really good sign going forward for the next few years."