BMC Racing’s Taylor Phinney, aboard his brand new fi’zi:k Aliante VSX saddle, retained the leader’s blue jersey on Saturday to win the first-ever Tour of Dubai. The victory was also the 23-year-old American’s first in a multi-stage race. He beat teammate Steve Cummings by 15 seconds with Lasse Norman Hansen, a recent signing for Garmin-Sharp who also use fi’zi:k saddles, in third a further 2 seconds back.
Phinney controlled the race from day one, powering around the 10.1km time trial in 12:03mins. It was not only a display of power but of tactical acumen, too, as Phinney, the 2010 US national time trial champion, and directeur sportif Max Sciandri opted to start early to avoid the higher afternoon winds. It certainly paid off, Phinney holding an incredible 488 average watts and 99rpm cadence for an average speed of over 50km. His wattage also peaked at 1,130.
The next three days followed a similar pattern. Phinney, marshalled superbly by Cummings and his teammates, finishing in the leading bunch behind sprinter Marcel Kittel who won stages two to four.
After the race, a relieved Phinney reflected on his impressive start to 2014. ‘Having a great team gave me a lot of confidence. After we performed really well on stage three, I knew today – barring disaster – that we’d secure the overall win. I’m super happy we did and now we can celebrate as a team.’
Phinney’s schedule now takes in Paris-Nice to help out teammate Tejay van Garderen, before racing the Spring Classics. From there, in Phinney’s words, ‘it’s all about making the Tour de France team’.