The young American's teammates protected him throughout the stage and he responded to all the attacks in the rolling finale to set himself up for overall victory in the four-day stage race. Phinney leads teammate Steve Cummings by 15 seconds with just Saturday's 123km circuit stage on the flat Dubai seafront left to race.
"For sure this was the biggest day, the queen stage if you will, of this Dubai Tour. I couldn't have asked any more from the team today," Phinney told Cyclingnews in an exclusive post-stage video interview.
Phinney spun a low gear on the climbs and then showed his strength and determination by following attacks and showing himself at the front.
"If I wasn't leading, I'd be one of those guys who would be attacking. It was more out of defence that I was bridging up to some guys up the road. I like a finish like this and think it was also really exciting for the viewers. I like that as well, to keep things entertaining. That's what it's all about."
One last stage
Phinney and BMC face just one stage of racing in Dubai before they can celebrate overall victory. Phinney has won time trials and road stages in his professional career with BMC but has not won a stage race since taking the Olympic Tour while riding as an Under 23 rider with Trek-Livestrong.
"There's just one stage to go but nothing's given. It's an unpredictable sport. We'll try to stay out of trouble tomorrow. That's the main thing," he warned.
"For sure people are going to want to sprint. It's not meant to be super windy and it's almost all pretty much covered because it's in town."
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