Worlds team time trial: BMC falters on the Cauberg
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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Worlds team time trial: BMC falters on the Cauberg

by Kyle Moore at 3:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, World Championships
American squad takes three-second loss after coming apart on final climb

Taylor PhinneyAny three-second defeat in a 53-kilometer team time trial would be painful, but BMC Racing was left wondering what might have been after being bested by Omega Pharma-Quick Step in the team time trial world championship on Sunday. BMC lost by just three seconds to the Belgian squad after losing time on the Cauberg, inside the final three kilometres of the race.

Working with Americans Tejay van Garderen and Taylor Phinney, Italians Alessandro Ballan, Marco Pinotti, and Manuel Quinziato, plus Belgian Philippe Gilbert, BMC was in with a chance heading into the final climb.

With Quinziato and Pinotti used up earlier, they took just the required four men into the Cauberg, but almost immediately on the lower slopes, Phinney began to fade. Ballan slowed to maintain contact, with van Garderen pushing forward and Gilbert stuck in the middle.

Phinney dug deep, maintaining his position in his aero bars and pushing up the climb, eventually reconnecting with Ballan and Gilbert as van Garderen dropped back. The squad quickly reformed its formation after that, but the damage had been done. After being eight seconds down to Omega Pharma-Quick Step at both intermediate time checks, BMC were surely close on time until faltering on the Cauberg, and the three-second defeat was the result.

BMC still had six men at the second check, at 38 kilometres, but both Pinotti and Quinziato were gone at the base of the climb, making Phinney’s climb ever more important.

“It was hell on the Cauberg,” Phinney said afterward. “When I looked back I could see that I was the fourth man, so I had to dig as deep as I could to limit the losses. You just have to accept how painful it’s going to be, get through it, and hope that the finish comes soon.”

Before BMC came through, Rabobank had also been disrupted by the Cauberg, and in even more severe fashion. Luis Leon Sanchez and Robert Gesink were both dropped by Stef Clement, with Lars Boom attempting to wait. All had appeared lost for the Dutch squad, but it had regrouped and crossed the line in second place at the time.

They, along with BMC, appeared to choose a blistering pace in the final kilometres leading into the climb, before trying to survive it and then regrouping for the finish.

“I'm not annoyed at Tejay,” Phinney added in regards to his compatriot moving ahead. “He could not hear anything on the Cauberg when we yelled out to him, because there was so much noise. We are all disappointed because it was only a three second loss.”

Though he indicated that their second place was the result of the Cauberg, when pressed, Phinney could only muster a joke about van Garderen.

“Maybe I am a little mad, but only because [Tejay] can climb better than me,” the American said. “We are definitely not mad at him. We all suffer with each other, and it gives us a stronger bond. We were beaten by a stronger team, and we have to keep our heads high. This gives me extra motivation in the time trial on Wednesday, and even more toward the World Championship team time trial next year.”


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