Taylor Phinney will be back in action at the Volta a Catalunya (March 21-27) and still hopes to ride Paris-Roubaix despite a pre-season knee problem and a recent training crash.
The hugely talented American was due to ride Paris-Nice after getting his season back on track at the Tour of Oman. However he suffered mild concussion in a training crash and was forced to miss the French stage race.
He has now been cleared to race again by BMC team doctor Max Testa and has been training hard for his return. The Volta a Catalunya is a testing seven-day World Tour race but will give Phinney a vital block of racing just a week before the Tour of Flanders and two weeks before Paris-Roubaix.
Phinney won the Under 23 Paris-Roubaix in both 2009 and 2010.
Phinney has described the start of his season as a ‘rocky’ one, but is now keen to get back to action.
"I am very excited and anxious to get racing again," he said in a team statement. "I have been training well and building not only base in the legs, but my confidence as well.”
“Catalunya is necessary for me if I wish to fulfil my classics ambitions this year and I am hoping it will give me the boost I need after the setbacks I have endured these past months. I have to thank the BMC Racing Team, my family, my girlfriend and, most of all, my fans for putting up with me in both high and low times."
Directeur sportif John Lelangue predicted Phinney would benefit from seven days of hard racing in Catalunya.
"He was disturbed a bit in training camp due to some problems with his knee, so he needs good volume and good intensity," Lelangue said.
"There are some really hard stages in Catalunya where he'll be suffering, but this is the best way to get volume for one full week. Then we can re-evaluate if he can go to the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix."