PARIS (AFP) — American rider Taylor Phinney will take part in the Tour de France for the first time with Cannondale-Drapac, which announced its race line-up on Monday.
Phinney’s compatriot Andrew Talansky, who finished 10th on the Tour in 2013, and Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran will be the team’s leading hopes in the general classification. Talansky did not race the 2016 Tour and instead focused on the Vuelta a España, where he finished fifth overall.
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“We’re going in with two GC leaders. Andrew and Rigo. But neither of those GC projects will hinder us from going after stage wins,” said sport director Charly Wegelius.
Talansky’s had a quiet start to 2017, although he took a signature victory at the Amgen Tour of California on the climb to Mount Baldy in stage 5. “I would love to win a stage. I have never won a stage of a grand tour,” he said. “The general classification will unfold as it does, but I think this Tour route lends itself towards aggressive racing and I certainly won’t let the opportunity to win something pass by.”
Phinney, 26, is the son of Connie Carpenter and Davis Phinney, both former Olympic medal-winning cyclists. He won a stage on the Giro d’Italia in 2012 but suffered serious injuries, including multiple leg fractures, in a crash in 2014.
“Making the Tour de France team is a dream come true,” Phinney said. “I’ve been fighting back all season from various things just to make to this point. I’m really thankful to the team for supporting me in this endeavor.”
This year’s Tour de France starts in the German city of Dusseldorf on Saturday and ends in Paris on July 23. The stage 1 time trial should favor Phinney, a former national champion and fourth at the London Olympics in the TT.
“He’s really someone who has got the ability to rise to a big occasion without letting the occasion get the better of him,” Wegelius added.
Cannondale team for Tour de France:
Pierre Rolland (F)
Alberto Bettiol (I)
Patrick Bevin (NZ)
Nathan Brown (US)
Simon Clarke (Aus)
Taylor Phinney (US)
Andrew Talansky (US)
Rigoberto Uran (Col)
Dylan van Baarle (Nl)