His pre-season training was disrupted by a knee problem. He rode the Tour of Oman in February and hoped to be back to his best, but he then missed Paris-Nice after suffering a mild concussion in a crash.
He started the Volta a Catalunya but pulled out mid-way through Wednesday’s third stage to Andorra. He revealed that the pain started during the first stage of the Spanish race but tried to ride on. Despite yet another setback, he still hopes to ride Paris-Roubaix.
Phinney won both the 2009 and 2010 Under 23 Paris-Roubaix, proving he could be a future winner of the professional version of the cobbled race.
“By the third climb, my knee had had enough," Phinney said in a press release issued by his BMC team. "One of the hardest things to do in the sport of cycling is to get off your bike, and I fought as hard as I could."
“I am incredibly disappointed to leave this Volta a Catalunya and go through yet another setback in my first year as a professional, but I am learning from all of these experiences, and am fortunate to have an amazing team around me that is willing to do what is best for me in the long run. In the end, I had to do what was best for my health. I am still hoping to still make the start line for Roubaix."
Phinney revealed his anguish in a Twitter message: "Very disappointed to have another knee issue derail yet another race for me today here." he wrote.
"Trying to keep my head up and think big picture but...easier said than done..."
BMC Racing Team Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said the pain in Phinney’s quadricep tendon was likely due to several factors: small changes in his position a few days before the race, cold weather on the race's opening day and the intensity difference between training and racing.
"We didn't want to take risks, so we decided to stop him," Testa said in the BMC press release.
"We'll evaluate the injury tonight and then he'll probably take a couple of easy days. Then we'll reset his program."
Phinney is expected to return to his European base in Lucca, Italy to begin his recovery.