The prodigious American won the opening time trial stage at last year's Giro d'Italia in Denmark and wore the race leader's pink jersey for three days. This year's race begins on Saturday with a circuit stage but Phinney has the speed to contest sprint finishes and will play a vital role for BMC in the stage two team time trial on Sunday.
Phinney has focused on training for the Giro d'Italia since the cobbled Classics and tested his form in the GP di Larciano and the Giro di Toscana at the weekend. He went on the attack at the GP di Larciano for over 100km on Saturday, on the same roads and climbs he often covers in training near his base in Quarrata. On Sunday he finished third in at the Giro della Toscana, behind Italian sprinter Mattia Gavazzi (Androni Giocattoli) and Ivan Rovny (Flaminia Fondriest). Phinney hit out early in the sprint and was only passed close to the line.
"I started thinking about the sprint and going for the win in the last couple kilometres," Phinney said in a press release from the BMC team, knowing the finishing circuit in Arezzo after helping teammate Alessandro Ballan win the same race last year.
"I closed a bit of a gap to a guy who went early with about 300 meters to go. I came around him with about 100 meters to go but unfortunately I didn't quite have enough gas to hold off Gavazzi and Rovny. But it's a really nice feeling to be back at the front of a race like that, though, especially since it was full gas all day, up and down," Phinney said.
BMC has yet to confirm it's full line-up for the Giro d'Italia but Cadel Evans will be team leader as he looks to rebuild his form after an injury-hit 2012. Phinney will have the freedom to fight for stage victories and should also be a contender in the 54.8km stage 8 individual time trial on Saturday May 12.