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Taylor Phinney (BMC) at the wind tunnel testing facility in Brackley
Behind the scenes with BMC rider during his trip to the United Kingdom
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While most professional cyclists are preparing for the holidays and few well-deserved days off the bike, Taylor Phinney took the step of flying from the United States to the UK and back again, all in the space of 48 hours.
It wasn't the case of some last minute Christmas shopping with the American making the transatlantic trip in order to improve his time trial position ahead of the 2014 season.
Accompanied by BMC's performance manager, Allan Peiper, Phinney touched down at Heathrow just before Thanksgiving and was quickly whisked away to a wind tunnel testing facility for an all-day testing programme. ProCycling magazine were granted exclusive access throughout the day.
"We wanted to find a wind tunnel location that could put the whole package together and that's not easy," Peiper told us.
"We wanted someone that understands the aerodynamic values but can also translate that into positioning and then also biomechanics as those things all fit together. Each rider has different attributes that they need to work on."
The wind tunnel in Brackley is run by Simon Smart, who has worked within Formula 1 for around a decade but has also worked with professional cyclists in recent years.
"I've known Simon for a couple of years but I called him on the afternoon of the World Time Trial when Taylor was fourth because I just wanted to go back and reconfirm the position that we made for him in 2012 November in Charlotte," Peiper added.
"There are also some new rules from the UCI as of January. The first one of him is the measurement of the 80 centimetre rule and the use of mechanical shifters. Taylor has been using mechanical shifters and that’s given him a little bit of extra length until now."
"The big thing was how do we get him inside that 80 point and make up for those few centimetres and get him back onto electric shifters. Then we wanted to reconfirm the position that we made in Charlotte."
After the series of tests Phinney spent the night in London before flying home just in time for Thanksgiving with his family and Peiper believed that the experience was worth it.
"It was a success as we reconfirmed the position and it's good for him. We gained around maybe ten watts and considering we made some changes, he used electronic shifters and he's in the 80 centimetre rule. It's minimal gains but still a success and it's given Taylor more confidence."
Click here for the gallery.