While Taylor Phinney may not have been favourite for victory in stage one, with the likes of Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara in competition, the American does have significant previous against the clock having won the opening time trial of the 2012 Giro d’Italia.
In the sprints, however, he definitely does not. But if any young rider questions the profits of hard work over the winter, this was a lesson in why it is so important. Phinney has said he has been putting in the hours to improve his sprint – and it is already paying off.
Phinney showed that he and his BMC team are capable of competing all fronts by not only leading out a huge sprint, but holding on to take third place. With an ambition to compete at the sharp end of cycling’s major one-day races, Phinney’s early-season firm gives plenty of cause for optimism ahead of the Spring Classics.