Return of knee problems knocks Phinney out of Qatar

Taylor Phinney continues to be plagued by knee problems and will miss the Tour of Qatar. The 20-year-old doesn't yet know when he will be able to make his European debut with BMC Racing Team.

Phinney suffered from various knee problems all last season, but still won the World U23 time trial title and won his second U23 Paris-Roubaix.

Writing on his personal blog, he said that he enjoyed his off-season but when he came back, “I did too much, too soon. The pain came back in November, and I was diagnosed as tendinitis." It responded well to treatment and he had no problems in December.

Only two days before flying from Los Angeles to Spain for the BMC training camp, “I felt a small nagging at the back of my knee,” but “I thought nothing of it.”

On his first ride with the team's Classics squad on the camp's first full day he said “the twinge” came back. It continued, and he was unable to train fully.

“Two days into camp and I was already missing training rides with my brand new team, I was very seriously disappointed and made sure to do everything in my power to take care of it," he said. “Sitting in the hotel room nursing an injury while all of the other guys on the team were out training and bonding for the season ahead was very depressing I can tell you that much.”

The team was fully behind him, providing him with treatment and companionship. “Only by the 29th, the last day of camp, I had ridden easy two days straight with no pain or twinge prior and was ready to start with the main group again. So in my first training camp, in my first year with BMC, my first year as a Professional bike racer, I was only able to take part in the first and last ride.”

That was just too little build-up for his first race, so “As of right now, I am going to miss out on Qatar. The risk is just too high at this point.”

Phinney continued, “Where I start my season is still up for grabs. There is talk of Oman, there is talk of Giro di Sardegna, or Friuli. It will really come down to my level of fitness and if my knee problems are completely behind me.

"Right now I have to focus on doing enough, but not doing too much... It is an interesting balance but a balance I am going to have to learn if I am going to be successful in world of professional sports.”

BMC line-up for Qatar

The team on Wednesday announced its line-up for the Tour of Qatar (February 6-11), with its Classics riders led by sprinter Alexander Kristoff. The Norwegian said that he is recovered from a crash in the Santos Tour Down Under last week.

"I expect to have better form than I did in Australia," he said. "I hope some days I can make the first split in the crosswinds and then sprint for a stage victory."

BMC Racing Team for the Tour of Qatar: Marcus Burghardt (GER), Alexander Kristoff (NOR), Karsten Kroon (NED), John Murphy (USA), Manuel Quinziato (ITA), Michael Schär (SUI), Greg Van Avermaet (BEL), and Danilo Wyss (SUI).

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