Reveals strained relationship with Lance Armstrong
With his move to BMC Racing Team confirmed today, Taylor Phinney is looking forward to a new chapter in his young but already prestigious career. The 20-year-old penned a multiple year contract with the American Professional Continental team despite offers from Lance Armstrong's RadioShack, the new Schleck team and Garmin-Transitions.
Speaking ahead of his press conference today, Phinney told Cyclingnews that his move was motivated by longevity of his contract and security - two things that RadioShack, who currently has just one year left in the sport, could not guarantee.
"Jim Ochowicz flew out to Boulder to meet with me. He's a close family friend and has been around my life since I can remember and if we were ever going to entertain any kind of offer it was going to be from him," Phinney told Cyclingnews.
"He came over to the house and blew us away. Not in terms of money but from a career standpoint. It all made a lot of sense. But once Jim opened that door it gave a lot of teams the opportunity to jump in and come in with offers. Then we had to riffle through everything and it was a stressful time. There was interest from the Schleck team and Garmin, who I worked with too and they wanted me back in Argyle."
With pressure mounting on Phinney to make a decision he headed for last week's US professional national championships in Greenville, South Carolina where he stayed with future teammate and defending US road champion George Hincapie.
"I stayed with George at his house and just inside, for me it felt like that right choice. The riders they have on that team, it's just getting better and better and I'm looking forward to that process," Phinney said.
"The main thing for the Olympics is that I need to be riding the same bike for the next two years and with RadioShack only able to offer me a one year deal it made sense because BMC could offer me that security and great bike for the track."
Despite his excitement for the future, Phinney is sad to be leaving behind the relationships he made at Trek-Livestrong over the last two years, including his friendship with Armstrong, who Phinney revealed, had broken off all communication ever since Ochowicz made his first offer.
"I formed some really good bonds at Trek-Livestrong with the team and Lance and the riders - they were my family.
"However, we had a chat with Lance, Bart Knaggs and Johan [Bruyneel] just to let them know that Jim had put in an offer and Lance had to leave half way because I think Senator Kerry was on the other line. I've tried to call, email and text and I've not really heard anything. I've talked to Bart Knaggs, who is at CSE (Capital Sports & Entertainment), and I'm sad that I've had to leave but I think they understand where I'm coming from. I think if Lance was in the same situation that I was in he would have done the same thing. That makes me feel more comfortable but it's not all smiles and laughs.
"But I want everyone to know that my time on the team was great and last weekend at Nationals was one of the highlights of my career so I'll look back on the last two years with a lot of fondness and I'm looking forward to create a new chapter in my life."
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