BMC's Taylor Phinney went into the stage 2 individual time trial at the Tour of California as one of the heavy favourites, but it was Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) who powered to the win on the 20.1km out-and-back course in Folsom. Wiggins came in 52 seconds faster than Phinney, who ended up third behind Garmin-Sharp's Rohan Dennis.
"It was OK, it wasn't my best ride," Phinney said. "I wasn't feeling amazing the whole time. I think I did an alright ride, but I think Wiggins was in a whole 'nother category. It just is was it is. You put it out there. You throw the vibe out there and see what you get back. It's not exactly what I wanted, but whatever."
Starting 10th from last, the pressure was on Phinney to depose Wiggins, who had just knocked Dennis out of the hot seat with a time of 23:18. But at the halfway point, Phinney was 32 seconds down, and he eventually rolled across the line with a time of 24:10 for third.
"The climb out was difficult, but it was early and I was feeling pretty good in that moment," Phinney said. "It's an interesting distance. It's not as aerobic as the longer 40-50 minute time trial, and it's not as anaerobic as a prologue. So it's kind of an interesting distance to wrap you head around. I would have liked better, but that's OK."
The BMC rider, who wore pink in the 2012 Giro d'Italia after winning the prologue time trial, said he was not necessarily surprised that Wiggins was able to put 52 seconds into him over the 20km distance.
"When he's in top form, he's in top form," Phinney said of the stage winner. "He's been thinking about [the race] for awhile because it's important for him. I mean it's an impressive ride, and it kind of puts everybody else to shame. So yeah, chapeau to him."
Now Phinney will turn his attention to stage-win opportunities and trying to help his team leader take the general classification. The entire peloton will face temperatures in the mid-90s Fahrenheit over the next couple of days, adding another challenge as riders tackle the Queen stage on Tuesday.
"There's some opportunity later in the week to go for some stage wins," Phinney said. "And we'll try to put Peter Stetina in the best position possible to go for the overall. But just one day at a time. I'm not big in the heat, so we'll see how that affects me, but we'll just take it one day at a time."
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Growing up in Missoula, Montana, Pat competed in his first bike race in 1985 at Flathead Lake. He studied English and journalism at the University of Oregon and has covered North American cycling extensively since 2009, as well as racing and teams in Europe and South America. Pat currently lives in the US outside of Portland, Oregon, with his imaginary dog Rusty.
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