The stage 5 time trial at the Tour de San Luis was Taylor Phinney's first big season goal, but the BMC rider fell a few seconds short of achieving that, finishing three seconds behind Movistar's Adriano Malori in the 19km test.
"I personally am quite disappointed. I definitely wanted to win today," Phinney told Cyclingnews. "I made a tactical error on my part by not asking the mechanics to a 55 or 56 tooth chainring on my front set."
"In the time trial my power was there and my pacing strategy was good. Just not having those extra gears on the way down cost me a couple of seconds but if that cost me the win we'll never know."
The searing temperatures of the first four days evaporated overnight, leaving cooler conditions but howling winds for the time trial, leading to such difficulties in gearing choices.
"When I rode it this morning I thought it wouldn't be necessary, but 75, 78k an hour going down on that tailwind section I just had to stop pedalling a couple of times," Phinney said, but was quick to give due compliments to the Italian stage winner.
"I knew that Malori would be quite strong. I'm quite disappointed, but it's a good victory for him. I knew with him going to Movistar he'd be on his TT bike a bit more and he's been a great time trialist for a couple of years now. Hats off to him, supposing that he ends up winning."
Phinney was quick to say he didn't want to make excuses for not winning. He suffered from some stomach issues earlier in the week, as have many riders, but was getting back on track.
"It's funny that this is probably going to be our hottest race of the year and it's in January. It's a bit of a a shock to the system."
BMC directeur sportif Jackson Stewart was disappointed to see his team be narrowly denied a stage win for the second time. Earlier in the week Peter Stetina was pipped on the first mountain top finish by Trek's Julian Arredondo.
"The stage with Stetina was frustrating already, because of dragging the guy to the line. It was a headwind climb and we discussed it, but we all knew it could have been different. We felt bad because he was that close to a stage win but I think Phinney's is worse because he came here solely for it."
Phinney had trouble getting into his highest gear, even though the bike was perfectly tuned before the ride, and shifted fine afterwards.
"Watching him out there we thought he was on an amazing ride. But we didn't know he wasn't in his 11. We figured if he's spinning out an 11 at 75k an hour and actually has to sit and stop pedalling than he was on an amazing ride."
Phinney has had this experience before: "It reminds me of this Eneco Tour time trial in 2012 where [Svein] Tuft beat me by two seconds. It was a 20k time trial too...it just sucks."
BMC could be consoled by placing three riders in the top 10 on the stage: Larry Warbasse was fourth, Manuel Quinziato was sixth.
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