HERNING, Denmark (VN) – Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) roared to victory and into the pink jersey to open the 95th Giro d’Italia on Saturday.
Phinney delivered on his pre-race favorite status and stopped the clock in 10 minutes, 26 seconds on a technical, windy 8.7km course to become the third American to win the maglia rosa.
“It’s an honor to wear this jersey,” Phinney said. “I’ve been thinking about this jersey the past few months. We planned everything to come here in top form. For me, it’s a dream come true.”
Phinney beat back Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) by nine seconds with Alex Rasmussen (Garmin-Barracuda) in third at 13 seconds slower.
Phinney joins Andy Hampsten and Christian Vande Velde as the only Americans to wear the Giro’s distinctive pink tunic.
“I gave everything I had today. I had good sensations on the course. The legs felt good. It was some serious suffering for 10 minutes,” Phinney told VeloNews. “I knew I had good legs. I am very happy with the ride.”
Phinney delivered a near-perfect ride on the technical, narrow course through the streets of Herning.
With tens of thousands of fans bearing down on the barriers, Phinney said he had a clean ride through nearly every corner. Meticulous preparation helped pave the way to Phinney’s most important victory since turning pro last season.
“We pre-rode the course 10 times over the last couple of days, but it was important to get on the course today before the race because the way they set up the barriers was a little bit different,” he said. “There was only one corner that I felt like I could have done a little better.”
Phinney told VeloNews he could feel the pressure building over the past few weeks, but felt calmer once the race day neared.
“I’ve been nervous for a couple of weeks, but as you get closer to the race, I started to get less nervous. I slept in until 9:30 and hung out all morning. All you can focus on is the ride ahead. I came here to give everything I could,” he said.
“The fans were incredible. The last couple of hundred of meters I was in a very deep zone of pain, but having everyone banging on the boards and screaming was pretty special. This is one of the biggest races I’ve done so far, so I am happy to win here.”