American hopes to build form for Flanders, Roubaix
Taylor Phinney will line-up for next week's Tour of Catalunya confident of making BMC's Classics team for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
The American neo-pro has endured a difficult start to his season, suffering from a knee injury at the start of the year and then mild concussion caused by a crash in training.
However, now cleared to race by doctor Max Testa, Phinney has been busy training in Lucca, Italy.
"I've been training a lot, more than I usually train to be honest. It's the perfect situation here for me in Lucca with so many guys based here," Phinney told Cyclingnews.
"It's not been a great start to the season with injuries and crashes but that's just how life is. I was pretty upset about a month ago about not being able to start in the Tour of Qatar and feeling that I was losing a lot of time, but I'm realizing more and more that the season is long and I've just got to take care of myself in order to have a longer career. Results will come and as long as my mind is in the right place it will all be alright."
Catalunya will provide Phinney with precious racing miles ahead of his spring objectives. A two-time winner of the under 23 version of Paris-Roubaix, he will use the Spanish stage race as a test for both his knee and form.
"I'm really excited about it. It will be a great jumping off point for the Classics and my fitness will be enough to compete in the races that I want to compete in."
"We wont make any decisions until after Catalunya but I'm hoping that I come back from there with a good amount of fitness and hope that I can still compete in those races because they're my favourite and the ones I love to do."
Unsurprisingly BMC has not confirmed its Classics teams for either of the two Monuments, but Phinney is already on the long-list for both races. The team will provisionally ride for George Hincapie and Alessandro Ballan, while Marcus Burghardt, Manuel Quinziato and Greg Van Avermaet may also have their opportunities, meaning that Phinney could ride as support and use the racing as valuable experience for his future.
"We have at BMC a really strong team, but if I'm not where I need to be by the end of Catalunya then I'll be the first who will not want to take a slot away from someone who is stronger than me. But if I make it through Catalunya unscathed, healthy and fit, I think I will definitely have my chance. But if there's someone else on the team better suited to help the team I'll be the first one to say I'm not ready," he said.
"A lot of riding the classics will be experience, especially when it comes to Flanders and learning the roads, but I do expect myself to help the team get up there. So if I can help the guys like George or Alessandro, then I think I can gain experience and help them to a higher place. I don't know if I'll have a free role. If I have that I'll take advantage of that."