Phinney to make Tour de France debut

Cannondale-Drapac names American as first of nine

After eight seasons in the WorldTour, interrupted by a nearly career-ending leg injury, Taylor Phinney will finally make his Tour de France debut when he lines up with Cannondale-Drapac in Düsseldorf next Saturday.

The American team revealed Phinney as the first rider of its nine-man team for the French Grand Tour today on Twitter.

"This is the big show," Phinney said. "This is the biggest show we've got. I seem to be able to rise to the occasion when the show is big enough. I love it. Making the Tour de France is a dream come true."

Phinney completed the Tour de Suisse this month with a 13th place in the opening time trial his best ride of the week. He noted on Twitter that he realized he had not raced a mountainous WorldTour stage race since the Giro d'Italia in 2013.

In his Giro debut in 2012, Phinney won the opening time trial and wore the maglia rosa for a day. In 2014, Phinney was on target for selection to BMC's Tour de France team after winning the Dubai Tour and the US national time trial title. But he crashed heavily into a barrier in the road race and fractured both bones in his lower leg, shattered his kneecap, and severely injured ligaments and tendons in his knee. After multiple surgeries and a lengthy rehabilitation, he came back in the Tour of Utah in 2015 and won his first race, a stage in the USA Pro Challenge, two weeks later.

Phinney made the move to Cannondale-Drapac from BMC this year, and made returning to the Grand Tours a main goal for this season. He decided to stay in Europe, skipping the defense of his national time trial title, in the hope of being selected for the Tour de France.

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