Highly-regarded US rider Taylor Phinney claimed his first win in the professional ranks on Monday when he took the 5.7km prologue of the Eneco Tour.
The reigning under-21 world time-trial champion also took the overall leader’s jersey as the BMC rider beat the vastly more experienced duo of Norwegian ace Edvald Boasson Hagen of Team Sky and Britain’s David Millar, who rides for Garmin-Cervelo.
Boasson Hagen, winner of two stages on this year’s Tour de France and winner of this race in 2009, finished seven seconds adrift, while Millar was a further second slower.
Belgium’s race favorite Philippe Gilbert, of Omega-Pharma, finished in eighth place, 15 seconds off the winner.
Phinney has had his maiden season as a professional hampered by injury and was overcome after winning against such a stellar field.
“To win here against riders who have performed so well on the Tour de France is really significant, I am really happy,” Phinney said.
Phinney has been tipped to become as good a time-trialist as Switzerland’s Olympic and quadruple world time-trial champion Fabian Cancellara.
“I really needed a lot of power to win this prologue. I have strong legs, which makes me optimistic for the time-trial on Thursday,” Phinney said.
The first stage of the race, which was scheduled to be held yesterday, was a 192.1 km ride from Oosterhout to Sint Willebrord in the Netherlands and should suit the sprinters such as Phinney’s compatriot Tyler Farrar and veteran Australian Robbie McEwen.