Taylor Phinney is ready to make his full-time ProTeam debut, and will race in the BMC Racing Team kit for the first time in the Tour of Qatar next month. However, the team is being careful not to put any pressure on the youngster to win.
"For Taylor, it will be about understanding how the pro peloton races and what some of the nuances are around a ProTeam,” team president Jim Ochowicz said on the BMC website. “Obviously, the rookie year for him will be a lot of new territory. We want to get him the experience he needs, but not where it's going to cost him down the road.”
The 20-year-old will start with the Tours of Qatar and Oman, before moving to the Spring Classics. “Once his classics program is over, he'll go to the Amgen Tour of California to prepare for the U.S. National championships on the road and the time trial,” according to Directeur Sportif John Lelangue.
"This season will be all about getting experience. There will be no pressure. The other guys on the team are happy to help develop him.”
For his part, Phinney hopes to help build up American cycling. “I'm always trying to bring new people into the sport,” he said. “Whether it means people following me in the classics or if I'm going for prologues or time trials, it's not really about highlighting one certain type of race, but highlighting the sport in general.
"I'm looking forward to being up there with the next big generation. Hopefully I can do my part.”
Phinney brings the very highest credentials. He is reigning U23 World time trial champion, and elite national time trial champion, and can boast a variety of world and national elite and junior titles on both the road and the track.
He had an equally impressive number of wins on the road last season, with his second straight victory in the Paris-Roubaix Espoirs, and the overall title (with four stage wins) at the Olympia Tour, while riding for the Livestrong-Trek U23 team.
Phinney rode for RadioShack as a stagiaire as of August 1, and went on to win the Tour de l'Avenir prologue, wearing the race leader's jersey for two stages.