Dubai: American rider Taylor Phinney has promised to return next year to defend his crown after notching his first professional career race win at the Dubai Tour 2014 on Saturday.
The American rider had done enough with a time of 12.03 minutes on the opening day’s individual time trial over 10 kilometres that was just enough to keep young German Marcel Kittel.
His rival, the Team Giant-Shimano rider, had hogged much of the limelight at the event after winning three of the four stages of the Dubai Tour.
Phinney played it safe after that and finished in the lead group to safeguard his position as overall leader in the general classification of riders for the blue jersey.
His time of nine hours, 31.33 minutes was enough to keep his teammate Steven Cummings of Great Britain in second just 15 seconds behind, while Denmark’s Lasse Norman Hansen of Garmin Sharp followed in third with a time of 9:31.50.
“I can never thank my teammates enough for making this win possible. I hope to be here in 2015 and I also hope to see this race grow and evolve, and it would be such a great honour to be part of this growth process,” Phinney said.
“This is my first pro tour victory and it is definitely a big step for me. It is a big thing for me to step in with the leader’s jersey and this is a role I can slip into so easily as I am motivational to my team-mates. I am the face of the team to win the inaugural trophy of the Dubai Tour, but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates.”
Phinney said his patience was key to his first win on the professional tour. “I’ve always been patient with myself and that is why I’ve kept growing as a professional. I kept telling myself that I would need a little more time and I think that time has come for me now,” Phinney said.
Though showing a lot of promise since turning professional four years ago, Phinney has had bad luck and injuries haunt him. “But this season it looks like I will not be playing catch-up,” he added. “The good thing is that I am really feeling so good before the really, really big races and this is a great feeling for me. I came here with some good preparation and I couldn’t be happier going forward. I always believed I could do it.”