We were roadside at the season-opener Het Nieuwsblad, one of the rides of the day was that of BMC’s young American, Taylor Phinney – well inside the top ten after having done a great job for teammate and runner up, Greg Van Avermaet.
But US riders up there in the standings is nothing new; van Garderen, Talansky and Horner are all big hitters in stage races.
It wasn’t always thus, however. Let’s go back to a time before the internet, Twitter, mobile phones – and Greg Lemond.
Along with Californian Mike Neel the man who opened the door for US riders performing in Europe was a certain George Mount, a prolific winner in the US.
In 1976 he placed sixth in the Olympics and in 1978 he won the Red Zinger and Coors Classic races in the States, placed fourth in the Milk Race in the UK and won the Palio de Recioto in Italy.
He took a stage of the French Circuit de la Sarthe in 1979 and won the Coppa 29 Martiri di Figline de Prato in Italy the same year.
He turned pro for San Giacomo in 1980 after the US announced their boycott of the Moscow Olympics and rode as a cash man for three seasons