Pursuit World champion may return to the track to close 2009
Taylor Phinney has finally ended speculation linking him with a move to Lance Armstrong’s Team RadioShack for 2010. Instead, Phinney will remain in the Under-23 ranks with Trek-Livestrong for another season, after which he may ride for Armstrong’s new squad. Phinney also confirmed that his road season may be over, with the world pursuit champion considering a return to the track for the remainder of the season.
"I’m 99 percent sure that I won't be turning pro with RadioShack next year. I think our team will get a bit of help from RadioShack next year as we’re the development team for them," said Phinney. "I will stay Under-23 so that I can get some experience and develop a little more. I don’t think I’m ready for the ProTour yet but in two years, depending on how next year goes, it could happen. Of course I think about one day turning pro with RadioShack."
As Armstrong’s new squad starts to take shape, with Sergio Paulinho confirmed and Levi Leiphiemer strongly rumoured to join, there would have been space for Phinney to step up to the Pro ranks after a successful season this year. In March, he won the World individual pursuit crown on the track, before he turned his attention to the road and took the Under-23 title at Paris-Roubaix. "There was an option this year but I was clear on wanting to stay Under-23 and Lance and my team boss Axel Merckx both thought it’s better for my development," Phinney added.
Phinney is currently recovering from a fractured dorsal spine of the C5 vertebra, an injury sustained in a crash at the Cascade Classic in July. With the Tour of Utah and a bid at the Tour de L’Avenir now unlikely, Phinney may turn his attention back to the track for the first time since the World Championships in Poland, with World Cups in either Melbourne or Manchester on the cards.
"Originally the plan was to do the Tour de L’Avenir in September but I’m just not ready for that. But I think I could be ready for the World Cups. If I don’t do Tour de L’Avenir then I’d like to go back to the track. The 2012 World Championships are in Melbourne and riders like Jack Bobridge and Jessie Sargent will be there so the competition will be high. It’s not definite yet. I still have some choices to make."
However with Phinney already having raced more days on the road than any previous season he may chose to return to the track as build up for another big year on the road in 2010. "I have a long future ahead of me and the last thing I want to do is go and crash again. There are a couple of things I could still do on the road, like the Univest Grand Prix and if I did do L’Avenir there’s a chance I could go to the [Road] Worlds, but if I don’t do L'Avenir then there’s not much chance I can make the team for the Worlds. But if it doesn’t work out I can work on the track. There’s a bright side to everything."
Phinney, who still hasn’t raced in his rainbow jersey, also believes that he can combine the track and road disciplines for many years to come and that specialising isn’t needed. "I think I can combine both, sure. A lot of guys who do the team pursuit have to do long training camps but I can just concentrate on me. I don’t know if I’d call it an advantage but I can certainly focus more on the road and still keep the track close to me."
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