After what he describes as one of the ‘biggest training weeks he’s ever done,’ Taylor Phinney has linked up with his Trek-Livestrong teammates as they commence a pre-season camp with Lance Armstrong’s and Levi Leipheimer’s Team RadioShack in Tucson, Arizona.
Phinney spent last week in Los Angeles, California, at a track camp hosted by USA Cycling, in a bid to escape the winter weather surrounding his home of Boulder, Colorado. In the mornings the individual pursuit World Champion rode for an hour on the track before taking to the road in the afternoons for up to four-hour training rides. "I did some strength work too, but being in LA meant I could ride in the sun and enjoy myself outside a bit more," Phinney told Cyclingnews after landing in Arizona.
Phinney will join up with his Trek-Livestrong teammates after a long and largely successful season. The team will spend much of the camp getting to know one another after team director Axel Merckx signed eight new riders to the roster for next season.
"I’m really excited about the team camp. I think it’s going to be a really good time. There’ll be a lot of meetings and it will be good to get to know all of the new guys. They’re from all over the world and from what Axel's told me they’re good guys and strong riders. Hanging out with Bjorn [Selander] and Sam [Bewley], who went up to RadioShack…well that’s a little reunion right there," Phinney said.
Phinney’s season was hampered by a crash at the Cascade Classic in July and the removal of his tonsils in November. After a successful recovery the American now says he has begun to feel like his old self and one year on from his first team camp with Trek-Livestrong is steadily building his form.
"I wasn’t able to train like this for the last two months or so and I’ve just put in one of the biggest training weeks I’ve ever done so it’s really good for the confidence. I feel fine, I feel healthy and I feel fit. It’s like I’m having my own little comeback."
One thing that has changed this year is an increase in the amount of media attention coming Phinney’s way. He attributes this, in part, to working in association with Armstrong and RadioShack. Proximity to Armstrong aside, Phinney, who has two ex-professionals for parents, has had to deal with the limelight from an early age and believes that with the right staff around him he can continue to thrive in the spotlight.
"Things have gone up a notch with RadioShack coming in and Lance having his own team. It’s cool for me to be a part of that. Last year we weren’t associated with Astana, but this year we’re with RadioShack and I’m really proud of that. There are some good years ahead of us. It’s a new beginning."
Phinney went on to praise Armstrong’s entourage for their support: "There are a lot of really smart people that surround Lance. I’ve become associated with them and they’re great to have around. Guys like Bart Knaggs who is our team manager, Bill Stapleton, and Mark Higgins who is Lance’s personal manager. The media [attention] isn’t a big thing for me as it’s been around for couple of years. I have fun with it."
The Trek-Livestrong and RadioShack camp runs from Tuesday until Sunday. The full Trek-Livestrong line-up will be presented during the camp.