Phinney considers Hour Record attempt comeback

American recovered from leg injury

BMC Racing's Taylor Phinney said he may attempt to break the Hour Record as part of his recovery from the season-ending leg fracture sustained at the US national championships in May.

In an interview with ProCycling magazine, Phinney said despite Jens Voigt raising the bar to 51.11 kilometers last week, there was still a window to capture the record relatively easily before the ‘huge guns’ like Bradley Wiggins, Fabian Cancellara and Tony Martin make the blue ribband event a target. Wiggins has indicated he may tackle the record in June 2015.

Phinney said: "I've thought about it and I think it would be a cool comeback idea because in these early stages, before the huge guns really set their stamp on the whole thing, it's simpler to be a record holder.

"It's something that doesn't require a lot of torque and as long as my legs are back to being equal it's something that could be done if I wasn't ready to dive into races at the spring classics.

He added: "I knew whoever was the first one to do it after they changed the rules had a very, very strong chance of beating it. Once you see guys like Brad or Tony Martin — even though he hasn't really shown an interest in it — or Cancellara going for it they're going to set the bar really high.

"I really think Jens was smart more than anything just to be that first one to do it and to hold that record… but I think that's a really cool way to go out as far as his career goes," Phinney said yesterday.

While Voigt was lauded for his tenacity and strength in breaking the record in Grenchen, Switzerland, observers noted his sometimes ragged lines around the velodrome cost him valuable distance. It means many observers still view the current record as a relatively soft target for a time trial specialist.

Given his track pedigree, Phinney, who, at age 18 rode the individual pursuit at the Beijing Olympics, would hold a distinct advantage over most other road-based rivals.

It would be a startling comeback for Phinney who crashed on a descent during the national championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee because of a race motorbike. He sustained a compound tibia-fibula fracture and damage to his left knee that meant that at one point he couldn't put any weight on it. He walked with a cane. He has been undergoing intensive physio, and insists he has maintained good condition. Off the bike he has been taking flying lessons.

He said: "I've been able to ride a lot and do accelerations that drop some of the guys I'm training with, who have been racing all season, but I pay a price for that — my knee gets tired, or tight or I start using my right leg more."

However the 24-year-old emphasised that a return to road racing in his favoured spring classics — and Paris-Roubaix in particular — would take precedence over an Hour Record attempt.

Read more in the next issue of Procycling, on sale 10 October.

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