Taylor Phinney (BMC) has confirmed that he will start this year’s Vuelta a España but admits that he made mistakes at the start of his professional career that led to injury, illness and the loss of form.
The 21-year-old turned professional with BMC at the start of the year and is widely tipped as one of the most talented riders of his generation, with multiple world titles to his name. However, Phinney has told Cyclingnews that he made several mistakes in the first half of the year, and that he wasted time living off the spoils of his professional lifestyle, instead of knuckling down and living the life of a dedicated athlete.
“I feel like I made a lot of mistakes and if I’m really honest I was really lazy in the first part of the season. That’s where all my injuries came from. I was being stupid. I wasn’t jumping off cliffs but I wasn’t training properly or eating properly. I was out, buying nice clothes and I thought I was being it. But now I’ve realised I’m a pro and that’s how I have to live,” Phinney told Cyclingnews.
Based in Italy, along with a clutch of riders from various other teams, Phinney was taken in my BMC’s Max Sciandri. The Anglo-Italian, formerly of British Cycling’s academy, has helped nurture a number of talents and he helped put Phinney back on the straight and narrow.
“With the help of Max, and some of the riders who live around me, he’s picked me up and put me back on my feet. He showed me how I was supposed to be doing things and I think I only really started acting like a professional in April and at the Tour of Romandie,” Phinney said.
Phinney regrouped in late spring and despite subdued performances in both the Tour of California and national time trial championships, he steadily built his form up. At the Tour of Romandie he displayed grit and determination that had been lacking. On one stage he was dropped by the bunch but finished alone, well down, with the use of a local map. Since then he has racked up a number of steady performances.
“I’ll be going to the Vuelta. I’m excited, for sure,” he said. "It’s really just came down to me talking to the team and trying to decide between the Tour of Colorado and the Vuelta and I feel like this is a great opportunity to go to a grand tour in my first year. I had a rocky start and at the start of the year I definitely would not have been confident enough to take on a full grand tour, but I feel like where I am now: I’m pretty happy with how my fitness is in both my head and my legs.”