The Tour of Romandie saw the return of BMC’s Taylor Phinney. A lingering knee issue flared up several weeks ago and he was removed from the team’s roster for Paris-Roubaix. He had won the U-23 version twice, so he knows the cobbles well and it was a set back for the 20-year old. But here he was, charging down the starting ramp at the prologue, resplendent in his national champion stars and stripes skinsuit .
The course was technical to say the least. Originally it was going to be 3.5k in length, but wisdom prevailed and some of the crazier turns were removed, shortening the distance to 2.9 kilometers. With its many turns, including a U-turn, and narrow roads, the course demanded frequent gear changes and quickly accelerating back up to maximum velocity – not suited to a rider who just sits on the bike and pushes a huge gear.
In his Twitter post the reining national time trial champion summarized his strategy, “Power, U-turn, Power, hold on for dear life, sprint to finish.”
Phinney’s plan seemed to work. He set the fastest time – 3:40.69. However there was still 27 riders to blast down the street in Martigny.
Unfortunately it wasn’t a dream return for Phinney as Jonathan Castroviejo (EUS) did a great time and was faster by just 0.27 seconds.
It was still a great return to the peloton and hopefully foreshadows things to come. If he continues to recover (or maybe he is fully recovered?) he should be able to defend his national time trial championship. The Greenville course features several sharp turns and a couple of round-a-bouts to keep things interesting. Dare to dream, could he win the time trial world championships held later this year in Copenhagen? Hmmm…