Taylor Phinney is aiming to make his Tour de France debut in 2014, his fourth season as a professional. The American will again target the Spring Classics in the early part of the year, but is keen to line up at La Grande Boucle in July, where his fellow countryman Tejay van Garderen will lead BMC’s challenge.
“The biggest goal for me would be to make the Tour de France team, other than having solid performances in the Classics, where Milan-San Remo and Paris-Roubaix are very important to me as they’re two of my favourite races,” Phinney said. “Those are big goals, and then making the Tour de France team and being able to help Tejay [van Garderen], I’m quite excited about that, but I have to make that team first.”
Phinney was speaking at BMC’s pre-season training camp in Solvang, California before flying to Argentina for his first race of the 2014 campaign, the Tour de San Luis. The 23-year-old spent the month of December training in Southern California and declared himself pleased with his winter preparation in general, citing his decision to hire a full-time soigneur in Reed McCalvin as a major contributing factor in the first injury-free off-season of his professional career.
“I’ve always struggled with injuries in the off-season, mainly due to cold weather and changes in bike position, and not having the available therapy or not making use of available therapy because you don’t race for a while,” he said. “This off-season is the first off-season where I’ve not had any issues and I’ve been able to knock out every single training day basically to perfection, and I owe that a lot to having hired my own personal soigneur and being a couple of years older too.”
Phinney was an impressive seventh at last year’s snowbound Milan-San Remo, almost catching the winning break thanks to a breathless descent of the Poggio, but he and his BMC team were unable to make a significant impact at Paris-Roubaix. He bounced back in the second half of the campaign with an impressive solo stage victory at the Tour de Pologne and is hopeful of starting 2014 on a positive note at the Tour de San Luis, which begins on January 20.
“I’ve been living the pro life, getting things done and I’m quite tired from all the training I’ve been doing, which is a great sign because now is the time to sort of taper in to the new season,” said Phinney, who will target the stage 5 time trial in Argentina.
“As a time triallist, I always aim for those and other than that, it would be cool to win a road stage myself and see what we can do from the team side of things on the general classification. I’m not going to be up there in the mountaintop finishes but I can help my teammates like [new arrival] Darwin Atapuma.”