Phinney, BMC Racing continue Giro prep with Trentino win

American dons leader's jersey after opening team time trial at important Giro d'Italia prep race

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American Taylor Phinney continued his strong run toward the Giro d’Italia Tuesday, donning the leader’s jersey at the Giro del Trentino after BMC Racing won the opening team time trial. BMC topped Astana by 10 seconds, with Colnago-CSF 13 seconds back.

Phinney, 21, was the backbone of the squad in the stage 1 TTT and crossed the line first to seize the race lead.

“The last three kilometers [Phinney, Alessandro Ballan and Marco Pinotti] did a lot of work and that made the difference,” said assistant director Rik Verbrugghe. “Phinney did the last 600 or 700 meters by himself. He was really strong.”

“The whole team worked well together and we were really strong,” said Phinney. “There wasn’t really a plan at the finish line on who would be first to finish. I just wanted to help give us the best time.”

Phinney won the prologue time trial at the Eneco Tour in August 2011 and held the overall lead in the Belgian WorldTour race until the end of the third stage when now-teammate Philippe Gilbert distanced him on a late climb. Phinney went on to finish fourth overall, but crashed hard in a treacherous sprint on the final stage.

Earlier this month, Phinney made a mark on his first Paris-Roubaix with a 15th-place result — the best debut for an American at the “Queen of the Classics.”

Phinney is on track to make his second grand tour start in May at the Giro d’Italia, which opens with a nearly pancake-flat, 8.7km individual time trial in Herning, Denmark. The race returns to Italy with a 32.2km team time trial in Verona for stage 4.

The Trentin tour includes two summit finishes and Phinney said he would fight to keep the leader’s jersey within the BMC team.

“The stages here are full of climbing and really difficult and I’m not exactly a climber,” said Phinney. “But I’ll do everything I can to help keep the jersey within the team.”

The four-day Giro del Trentino continues Wednesday with the 152km stage that includes four categorized climbs and a mountaintop finish at Val dei Mòcheni.

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