Phinney surprised to make BMC’s Tour of Flanders line-up

American to support Van Avermaet’s quest to win the 100th edition of the Ronde

Taylor Phinney’s strong showing at Gent-Wevelgem has given him the green light to join the BMC team line-up at Tour of Flanders on Sunday. It will be his first Monument in two years since breaking his leg in a crash at the USA national championships back in 2014.

"I didn't expect to race Ronde van Vlaanderen but my performace at Gent-Wevelgem was a pleasant surprise, so I'm really humbled to line up at one of the biggest races of the year with such a stellar team," Phinney said in a team press release.

Phinney returned to the Belgian Classics at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday for the first time since his 2014 crash, and ahead of the race his BMC team stated that there was no pressure on him to perform. He was a strong contender during the race and ended up finishing 33rd place.

Before Gent-Wevelgem, Phinney had raced at Tour du Haut Var, La Provence, Strade Bianche and Tirreno-Adriatico where he helped BMC win the opening team time trial and placed 15th in the individual time trial.

Greg Van Avermaet will lead the BMC team at Tour of Flanders, which also includes Marcus Burghardt, Jempy Drucker, Stefan Küng, Daniel Oss, Manuel Quinziato and Michael Schar.

"We have a strong Classics team so of course Ronde van Vlaanderen is an important race for us. I think we have shown since the beginning of the season in Qatar and Oman, and then in the early Classics, that we know how to race aggressively and that we can always be up the front, and that's what we hope to do this Sunday," director Fabio Baldato said.

Van Avermaet has had a strong season with an overall win at Tirreno-Adriatico and he won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. He placed ninth at Gent-Wevelgem, after recovering from a recent illness, and is aiming for winning performance at Tour of Flanders.

"If I could choose to win any Classic this year it would be Ronde van Vlaanderen, especially given it is the 100th edition, which makes it even more special for me as a Flandrien,” Van Avermaet said.

“I hope that I can rest and recover well this week from my recent illness and be back at 100% on the start line on Sunday. I'm going to give it everything I've got.”

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