US National Time Trial Champion Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) is targeting the Amgen Tour of California's stage six 24km individual time trial held on Friday, May 20 in Solvang. The stage will be his last opportunity to test his legs against other American riders before attempting to defend his title at the up coming USA Cycling Pro Championships later this month.
"Hopefully I will be able to make it through the first five stages unscathed and relatively ready to take it on and have a good tester out there," Phinney said. "Hopefully, I can get a good result because that is my biggest goal here, it's ultimately the time trial. I will be giving it everything that is for sure."
Phinney pre-rode the time trial course prior to his arrival to South Lake Tahoe last week. The stage was a part of the Amgen Tour of California for three editions and won by three-time overall winner Levi Leipheimer of RadioShack on all three occasions.
The parcours is set around the quaint Danish town of Solvang. It is relatively short at 24km, but it is challenging with an uphill on the outward stretch over Ballard Canyon followed by a predominantly false flat descent back into the Solvang finish line.
"The course does suit me," Phinney said. "It has a false flat and a little kicker and then a false flat downhill on the way back into Solvang. It is a relatively good course for me, a power course."
Phinney announced that he would sign his first professional contract with BMC Racing following his national time trial championship victory last year. This year, he will return to defend that title on May 28 in Greenville, South Carolina.
His early season was marred by injury after suffering a concussion from crashing on a training ride in February along with a recurring knee injury. He hopes to regain top form before heading to South Carolina next week.
"This year I got a rocky start, so I haven't had a good test in the time trial," Phinney said. "Solvang will be my first big test before nationals two weekends from now."