(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) It was a historic moment for Dubai and Taylor Phinney on Wednesday. The American rode into cycling's history books by winning the first stage on the inaugural Dubai Tour. Phinney's stunning time trial helped him being the first ever recipient of the Dubai Tour's blue jersey.
Phinney, a former under-23 world time trial champion, averaged 50.29km/h in the 9.9km time trial to set a winning time of 12'03", and guided his team BMC Racing one-two with team-mate Britain's Steve Cummings finishing second.
An excited Phinney (@taylorphinney) tweeted: "Hey that feels good! Huge honor to win the first stage here at @TourOfDubai. Thank you BMC for believing in me, and also for the fast bike!!" The first stage, named 'The Down Town stage' the individual time trial was held within the new city.
World champion Tony Martin, who is competing in his first race after surgery in the winter, finished fourth, behind Garmin-Sharp's Lasse Norman Hansen, winner of the 2012 Olympic omnium gold.
Cummings also set an impressive time of 12'17, giving BMC a dream start. World number one Joaquim Rodriguez of Katusha, completed the course in 13'40".
"I thought I was going to beat my record of watts, I reached 490. I knew I was already in good condition as I'd worked well over the winter," said.
"If there's an event that's best for me, it's anything around 12 minutes and below. I haven't had many opportunities to ride short time trials since I've been pro - they seem to be phasing out short time trials and Prologues - so I was really happy when this course came out. It means a lot to win today," Phinney said.
"I've been thinking about this race since they came out with the race route weeks ago. I knew there would be some big names here. Specifically, Tony Martin is good in any time trial. especially on a road bike, so I'm overjoyed and relieved that I have won," the 23-year-old said.
While elaborating his strategy for the opening race, he said: "I decided to go early because of the weather report. It looked like the wind was going to build up. I hope it was the same conditions for everyone, but I don't know. You want everyone to go at the same time, but it's not easy when there are 125 of you."
Phinney, who claimed second place in an Argentine season warm-up last month, was quite happy with the start he got in Dubai. "After a disappointing 2013, I've had a good off-season. I'm fresh mentally and physically but I've also been training a lot. The team has a different approach this year: all the riders have individual goals, and I'm a goal-setting-type person, so I like that. Today was a big goal for me. I'm happy with the way my Dubai Tour has started."
But he is also quite aware about the challenges ahead. "The win is a big confidence booster for me. I thought I knew what I was capable of on a course like this, but I exceeded my expectations today. I haven't won the Dubai Tour yet. There are a lot of variables in this race: wind, climbs on St 3, more wind on St 4. All I can do is take it day by day. There's some strong competition here, but BMC has a good team, we have also Steve Cummings who is strong and in a good position, so I'm excited. It's a short race but it's going to be intense. A lot of things can happen over the next couple of days, we just have to stay calm, we have a good chance." Mark Cavendish is among the riders taking part in the four-day race, which continues on Thursday with a 122km ride from Dubai to Palm Jumeirah.
The second stage will cover a total of 122km, finishing at Palm Jumeirah on Thursday. The second stage, named 'The Sport Stage' runs through the area with the most important sports building in Dubai, including Hippodrome, the Olympic pool, the Al Qudra cycling path, the Autodrome and the amazing Golf Club. The third stage, the longest of the race at 162km, will go outside the city and through the desert to finish in Hatta. This stage will be called 'The Nature Stage'.
The fourth and final stage 124km in length will cross the old part of the city, passing alongside two of the most iconic Dubai buildings: the Burj Al Arab and the Burj Khalifa. This stage is known as 'The Old Dubai Stage'.