"We can have a really special Classics season as a team"
Taylor Phinney's overall victory at the Dubai Tour has the left American and his BMC team confident for the rest of the early season races and especially the spring Classics.
Steve Cummings finished second overall and BMC also won the team prize, with only Marcel Kittel (Giant-Shimano) sharing in the success thanks to his three stage victories.
Phinney celebrated his first stage race as a professional in Dubai on
Sunday night but was already thinking ahead to his next goal: the time trial at the Tour de Méditeranéen and then the cobbled Classics.
He and the team has suffered on the cobbles and struggled to live up to expectations. However Allan Peiper incisive management strategy and Phinney's victory in Dubai have left the team full of confident.
"I think we can have a really special Classics season as a team. We need to have that year now. We've been close in the past but due for a big Classics season. I hope I can play my part in that," Phinney told Cyclingnews in an exclusive video interview.
Phinney won the opening time trial and then rode a perfect race and was perfectly protected by his teammates in the other stages.
"I felt like it was my race to lose after day one but the team did an amazing ride in these past three days and just kept everything as seamless as possible for me. I have them to thank for this overall victory," he said.
"I'm super relieved we were able to make it here (to the finish) safe and sound after the final stage."
Next stop the Tour de Méditeranéen
Phinney will head to his new European home in Nice and then travel down the French coast for the opening 223km road stage on Thursday.
"I'm going to the Tour du Med and there's a 20km time trial there. It's a bit hilly but I'm going to go for that. Then we dive into the Classics, with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, Paris-Nice and then the big ones. They're not too far off and I'm really happy with my form," Phinney explained.
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Taylor Phinney’s main goal for 2012 will be to race the time trial in the Olympic Games – but with only one spot available for USA riders, and veteran riders Dave Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer also competing to ride, he will have a fight on his hands to even get to London. The Olympics are a family business for Phinney, with his mother, Connie Carpenter, winning the gold medal in the road race, and his father, Davis Phinney winning bronze in the team time trial and coming fifth in the road race, in the 1984.
And at just 21, Phinney’s results show how much of his famous parents’ talents he has inherited. If he doesn’t make it to the London Olympic Games, he’ll take everything he learned from 2011 forward on the roads, having given up track for the time being. Phinney will also race a number of the Classics and most likely a grand tour, in what will be his second year as a professional.