Taylor Phinney (BMC) has finally completed his dream of making a trip to Scotland, and he even got a mini bottle of whiskey from a fan in Edinburgh at the start of stage 4 of the Tour of Britain for his trouble.
However, the racing holds much more importance than a short stay north of the border as he tries to race himself into form ahead of his home World Championships, which begin in just over a week.
Phinney is down to do both the individual time trial and the road race for the US team but he's also a likely starter in the team time trial for BMC. His leg injury meant that he wasn't able to compete at last year's World Championships where the team came out with Gold but he now has the chance to do it on home soil.
"It would be sweet. Any time trial in the US is obviously special and the team time trial is something that I've specialised in for a long time. I didn't know if I was going to be good enough for it but last week we had a camp and I felt really strong," Phinney told Cyclingnews.
"I haven't done an hour-long time trial but not a lot of people do hour-long time trials anyway."
BMC have been one of the dominant figures in team time trialling, scoring big victories in the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana and have made themselves the undoubted favourites for victory on September 20. They have been dealt a blow with Tejay van Garderen suffering a broken collarbone at the Vuelta. Phinney believes that they've got such strength in depth that they will be just as strong without him.
"It's a bit of a hindrance but we have so many strong guys to make up that team it makes it a little bit easier for me to try and get on the team," he explained. "Any race I can do with Tejay I would love to do. We sort of carried the team time trial team for a couple of years, before my accident, and then it would be great to have him back for Richmond but that's just the way the sport goes."
The US team is also at a slight disadvantage with six riders compared to the nine that the likes of Belgium, Italy and Great Britain have. Phinney is set to lead the team along with MTN-Qhubeka's Tyler Farrar in the road race. Never one to pass up a challenge, Phinney is confident that they can hold their own.
"It's always hard but you'll have a team like Italy who've got a lot of riders but maybe they've got a lot of bigger egos and it's harder for them to work together with each other and we're a group of guys that know each other really well and we're all ready to work for each other and that goes a lot longer way than just having numbers," he said.
For now though, Phinney still has four more stages of the Tour of Britain to make it through safely and a shot at a stage win is also in the back of his mind. "I'm here mostly for preparation for next weekend and the weekend after at the Worlds," he said.
"I was looking at stage two, which proved to be a little bit hard a little bit early, and stage six on Friday is also anther good stage but when it comes down to trying to sprint with the best guys like Viviani, Cav and Greipel that's not really my domain so I just try to let them do that and try not to get in the way."
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