The EF Pro Cycling team announced on Monday that Taylor Phinney has renewed his contract for another season. 2019 will mark the third season with the team for the 28-year-old who scored a top-10 finish in Paris-Roubaix this year.
Phinney said in an EF Pro Cycling press release that there was no other team he could envision racing for. "I feel like I can be honest with everyone around me and myself, and there's not a ton of expectations thrown on you, on what you need to be and what you need to look like, and how you need to act. They just let you explore yourself and let you be who you want to be," Phinney said.
"The team obviously want to win races and do well and that's a priority, but there's not this cookie cutter that you need to be a certain way or ride your bike a certain to be on the team, which you'll find on a lot of other programmes."
That freedom will extend with the team's new partnership with Rapha, which will see some riders adding criteriums, ultra-endurance or mixed-terrain events to their calendar.
"I think that it is the greatest thing ever," Phinney said, adding that if he had his choice he'd like to race the Dirty Kanza gravel event in Kansas. "I mean when we were first hearing little rumours about the change and that Rapha wanted to come on board, it felt like all these different ideas that I had been talking about with friends, all these adventures I had been thinking about, it was like someone had read my mind."
Phinney will continue to focus on Paris-Roubaix, which he says is "the one race I do all year which I'm not at a weight disadvantage because I just weigh a lot more than everybody else being 6 ft 5."
This season, Phinney had his best finish in Paris-Roubaix, coming eighth in a sprint from the third group behind winner Peter Sagan and runner-up Silvan Dillier, and called the result the highlight of his year.
"I've wanted to be up there and wanted to be riding with those guys for my whole career, so it was cool to have the stars align for that one and have a good day."
He also finished the Tour de France, but his accomplishment was marred by a crash on stage 19 that left him with a broken nose and orbital bone, the result of running face-first into a tree.
"I always enjoy the Tour de France and finishing always feels good, although this time wasn't so great finishing with a broken face, so I didn't have as much energy to celebrate. I had to go to visit the doctor the next day, but I don't even think that was a low point; there haven't really been any."