After making it through to the first rest day in his first grand tour Taylor Phinney (BMC) is aiming to complete the Vuelta and position himself for a strong showing at the Worlds next month.
The 21-year-old neo-pro endured a difficult start to his year with BMC with injuries and a lack of form. However he knuckled down in the second half and has seen some of the best form shine throu A fifth place finish in Tuesday’s individual time trial at the Vuelta signalled one of Phinney best results this year, considering it marked the longest period of racing of his career.
“I’m really happy with how the time trial went. I wasn’t really sure on what to expect because this is the longest race I’ve done. I did eight days at the Tour of Austria and now I’m passed that. So to be up there and competitive after ten days of racing and in my first grand tour, I’m really happy. And I’m also really happy for Chris Froome for his ride. He’s a friend of mine and a great guy who I’ve been lucky enough to get to know this year,” Phinney told Cyclingnews.
Phinney lined up for the Vuelta despite the appeal of racing at the US Pro Challenge which took place on his home roads in Colorado. The three week test in Spain marked his first grand tour and despite some difficult stages in the first week he believes that the race has been a positive step in his career.
With no more time trialling left in this year’s Vuelta, Phinney will turn his attention to finishing the race but he already has one eye on the Worlds. Although not confirmed, he believes that his 5th in Salamanca will be enough to cement his place in the US team for the time trial. The team has two slots, with Dave Zabriskie, the national champion, expected to fill one.
“For me this experience has been a good adventure and something positive for the future. I think that the ride in the time trial should help me qualify for the Worlds time time trial in Copenhagen and as everyone knows, representing my country is a huge honor for me. I think I’ve put in a deserving ride to get a spot now. There are two spots so I would imagine that Dave Zabriskie would take one and I would take the other.”
“For now though, if I can finish the Vuelta I’d be really happy so that’s the main goal. I’m thinking about getting into a break later in the race but I’m also looking forward to resting up today.”