American Taylor Phinney (Team BMC) will kick-start his Worlds campaign in Sunday’s team time trial before focussing on the individual time trial and the road race. The 22-year-old will line up as part of a powerful BMC team that includes Philippe Gilbert, Marco Pinotti, Manuel Quinziatol, Tejay van Garderen and Alessandro Ballan, for the 53.2km course on Sunday.
“It’s a good course. I heard it was going to be really up and down but it’s not quite as hilly as I thought it would be and that’s good for me. It’s a longer team time trial than I’ve ever done, so it’s going to be hard and taxing on the body but I think we have really strong team and we did some race pace efforts on the track in Zolder. We’re really motivated and excited for Sunday,” Phinney told Cyclingnews after a training session on the course.
Phinney has had successful second year as a professional. He was part of BMC’s win in the team time trial at the Giro del Trentino before winning the prologue in the Giro d’Italia. His Olympics bid ended with fourth in both the men’s road race and time trial, before a win in the time trial at the US Pro Challenge last month.
“After the Olympics, I was gunning really hard to be good for the Eneco Tour and the US Pro Challenge and it was definitely difficult after wining the time trial in Denver to refocus and get back on the horse. It took me a couple of days but Tejay [van Garderen] was in town and we motivated each other and got back to work. I still have really good form. I did a lot to bump my level up to where it needed to be for the Olympics but I’ve been able to hold that and I’ve got two recent stage races under my belt.”
The two fourth places at the Olympics were a disappointment for Phinney, who came to the London Games with the intention of medalling in at least one event. But the Worlds offer him at least two realistic opportunities of medalling in the coming days, with the individual time trial his main focus. And with two of the medallists from the Olympic time trial – Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome – not competing in the time trial, Phinney stands a realistic chance of competing for the rainbow jersey.
“The Worlds in an Olympic year is a big opportunity for a lot of riders to come out with a big result. You see some of the main favourites for the time trial aren’t going to be here but I’m happy with where my head is and where my legs are.
“That’s the main goal, to come here and win a medal. I’ve not seen the time trial course yet and it’s different to the team time trial course. It’s not a course that is perfect for me but at the same time it’s not one that’s terrible for me. I’ll just focus on the team time trial and then really focus on the individual one and see to where that takes me. I would love to medal here though and the individual time trial is the biggest focus but the team event is a perfect way to build up.”