Taylor Phinney (Trek-Livestrong) has already proven himself to be a major force on the track but with his recent victory in the U23 version of Paris-Roubaix – at just 18 years of age – signs are pointing increasingly stronger to him becoming the next great all-American cycling superstar.
All the ingredients certainly look to be in place: his parents are former US racing icons Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter-Phinney; his Trek-Livestrong development team is essentially partially backed by none other than Lance Armstrong; and his Trek Madone OCLV Red Series road machine is built in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
About the only things missing from the formula are some apple pie, a faint 'Star-Spangled Banner' playing in the background and some fireworks over the Potomac.
Phinney's 1.93m (6' 4")-tall build and 818mm saddle height fit on a standard 62cm Madone 6.9 frame easily enough but his "super long" femurs required Trek senior R&D engineer Mark Andrews to craft a custom seatmast cap with 35mm of offset. Even so, Phinney's saddle is slammed all the way back on the rails for a position diehard traditionalists could only dream of handling.
Aside from that, Phinney's Madone was pretty straightforward when we caught up with it back in early April at the USA Cycling development facility in Izegem, Belgium. SRAM provides a complete Red group – with the lone exception of an S900 crank for its 177.5mm-long arms – and much of the rest was emblazoned with the Bontrager logo, including the Aeolus 5.0 carbon clincher wheels, Race Lite VR aluminum handlebar, and Race XXX Lite carbon stem. Stem length is a rather normal 120mm and Phinney apparently has rather narrow shoulders given the 42cm (c-c) bar width.
Rounding things out are Speedplay Zero Titanium pedals, a fi'zi:k Arione saddle, Vittoria Open Corsa EVO-CX clinchers, a mismatched pair of cages from Bontrager and Specialized, and a Specialized Turbo Comp computer.
Racing on Belgian cobbles places unique demands on equipment, though, and not surprisingly the bike underwent a minor makeover prior to Paris-Roubaix similar to what was done to Astana team rigs in April. Replacing the standard Bontrager Race XXX Lite E2 fork was one borrowed from Trek's Pilot range with more clearance around the crown and Astana loaned Phinney a pair of team-only 'Bontrager Classics' aluminum tubular wheels with fat 25mm rubber – all subtle modifications for sure but ones that have proven to be undeniably effective.
So let's see here: three UCI world championships, four US national titles, one Paris-Roubaix – and a lifetime to go. Things are looking good indeed.