Giro d’Italia: Phinney fights to keep lead but drops to fifth overall
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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Giro d’Italia: Phinney fights to keep lead but drops to fifth overall

by Shane Stokes at 2:28 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
American almost crashes when bike goes off road

BMC GiroStill feeling the effects of his bad crash two days ago, Taylor Phinney battled hard to keep his Maglia Rosa today in the Giro d’Italia’s team time trial, but fell thirteen seconds short.

The BMC Racing Team rider wasn’t at his usual strength and found it hard to hold the pace on a climb which came approximately twelve kilometres after the start. The team held back there, losing a few seconds, then the tall American appeared more comfortable on the flatter roads which came after.

However soon afterwards he lost some more time when he went off the road on a sweeping bend. His detour onto grass didn’t cause him to fall, but it cost him another few seconds and temporarily snagged some vegetation in his derailleur.

Team-mate Marco Pinotti said afterwards on Twitter that because Phinney had to rest yesterday to help allow his ankle to heal, he didn’t get to do a reconnaissance of the course and see the bend in question.

He believes this was the reason why he got the turn wrong and ended up losing time.

The team ended the 32.2 kilometre test tenth, 31 seconds behind victorious Garmin-Barracuda.

Phinney’s jersey passed to the Lithuanian Ramunas Navardauskas, with the latter’s Garmin Barracuda team-mates Tyler Farrar, Robert Hunter and Ryder Hesjedal moving up to second, third and fourth in the general classification.

“I gave the maximum I had, but I had nothing to give,” said a disappointed Phinney, now fifth overall. “I am so thankful to my team mates because without their great help and strong support I’m not even sure I could have done it to the finish. I look forward to pay them back during the rest of the Giro.”

Pinotti said that if Phinney had not been carrying injury and had been at his usual strength, the outcome could have been very different.

“In the end, we only lost 31 seconds. That’s great, considering the bad condition of Taylor with his injury. I think with a good Phinney, we could have won today. The team is in a strong condition so I’m confident for the rest of the race.”

He is the GC leader of the squad. Pinotti is now 21st overall, 37 seconds back.

Assistant Sport Director Fabio Baldato believes that taking Phinney’s injury into account plus how things played out, that that team rode very strongly. “One of our guys went too fast in a curve while he was taking the relay and he cut straight in the grass, which slowed down the pace,” he said.

“They had a good reaction to wait each other and then they made the fastest time in the third part of the time trial.”

Phinney still has a badly swollen ankle, but it should improve over the next few days. What’s more important is that he remains in the race and will be able to chase opportunities in the remaining stages plus help team-mates like Pinotti and Thor Hushovd. 

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