Taylor Phinney won his second individual time trial of the season for the BMC Racing Team while teammate Tejay van Garderen placed third Sunday to finish as overall runner-up at the USA Pro Challenge.
Phinney averaged nearly 53 kilometers an hour on the 15.3 km course on the way to adding another time trial win to the one he scored on Stage 1 at the Giro d’Italia in May. “I didn’t have a specific time in mind and I didn’t have a radio,” Phinney said. “I just went out there and gave it everything I had. I felt like I was going fast. I saved enough up for the last three kilometers and absolutely buried myself.” Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Sharp) finished second, 10 seconds slower than Phinney, to earn the overall win. Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), who took the race leader’s yellow jersey off van Garderen’s shoulders on Saturday, finished ninth and dropped to third overall.
Phinney said he had been targeting the stage all week while working in service of van Garderen, who led the race after Stages 2, 4 and 5 and finished third here a year ago. “Going for the win today was a big carrot for me that I was chasing,” the former U.S. national time trial champion said. “So it was good motivation to come here. This was my home race. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.” Phinney’s victory came on the same day that teammate Philippe Gilbert won Stage 9 of the Vuelta a España. It is the second time in three weeks that the BMC Racing Team has won two races in one day and was the team’s seventh victory this month. Alessandro Ballan won Stage 7 of the Eneco Tour of Benelux on Aug. 12, hours before Johann Tschopp earned the overall title at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.
Van Garderen, a fourth-place finisher in two of the Tour de France’s three time trials last month and runner-up at the U.S. national time trial championships in May, said he didn’t think 21 seconds was too big of a deficit to make up on Leipheimer. As it turned out, Vande Velde proved best of the three, nine seconds faster than van Garderen and 33 seconds faster than Leipheimer. “I wasn’t ready to lose this race,” the Boulder, Colo., resident said. “I was convinced I was going to win. Even being down on time, I thought, ‘I got this.’ I felt super confident and really wanted to win. The team worked hard for me. It was my hometown race, my family was here and it was George Hincapie’s last race. I wanted to give him a victory.”
Hincapie put his hand in the air to acknowledge the cheers of the Denver crowd as he piloted his BMC timemachine TM01 across the finish line to end a 19-year professional career. The Greenville, S.C., resident who started a record 17 Tours de France and finished a record-tying 16 said he got a little emotional before rolling down the start ramp. “It’s been a long career for me, a good career and I’m proud of it,” Hincapie said. “I’m sad to leave, but at the same time, I’m excited to spend more time with my family and start a new life.” Hincapie was quick to add he won’t stay away from the sport too long. “I’m going mountain biking with a buddy of mine on Tuesday,” he said.
Photo © Casey Gibson / Slipstream Sports