Colorado-native Taylor Phinney of the BMC Racing Team had to make a tough call between the Vuelta a España and the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
“It’s been a difficult choice trying to decide between the Vuelta and doing Colorado.” Phinney told podiuminsight from his home in Tuscan, Italy. “Colorado is obviously my home race and it’s the first year. It has a really nice prologue that I wanted to make myself friends with.”
But after discussions with both team director John Lelangue and assistant-director Max Sciandri, who also lives in Tuscany, the decision was made.
“It just made sense when it came to trying to qualify for Worlds and also trying to prepare for Worlds, the Vuelta just seemed like it would be the best preparation for me.” he explained.
The UCI Road World Championships will be held in Copenhagen, Denmark on September 19 to 25. Starting on August 20, the three-week Vuelta a España ends on September 11, just eight days prior to Worlds.
“From what I’ve heard, the Vuelta is the best Grand Tour to start out with, it’s a little bit more relaxed, you have later starts and not terrible transfers like in the Giro.” said the 21-year old who will be starting his first Grand Tour.
With six mountain finishes, Phinney knows that the Spanish stage race will be difficult. “I’m going to have the team around me monitoring my fatigue levels and making sure that I don’t dig too deep.” he said. “Really it would be just trying to survive it, trying to make it through.”
“I’m not going to be battling for any podium spots or anything, “ Phinney laughed, “but I’ll just be hanging on and enjoying the process. If I make it the whole way I’ll be super stoked, if I make it ten days, two weeks, I’m just going to take it one day at a time and see where it gets me.”
The World Under 23 time trial champion and US National time trial champion in 2010 is looking forwards to the two stages against the clock in Spain. “Only one time trial but there’s a team time trial at the beginning that I’m pretty excited about.”
Lead up to Spain. Phinney has been on a “good training regimen” after taking a break after the USA National Road Championships. “June was my highest training load month that I’ve had ever and then went to Tour of Austria which is a mountainous race, and fared pretty well there for my standards. I felt like I came out of it fitter than I did going in which is natural.”
And he was back resting in Tuscany after helping the Tour of Wallonie in Belgium. “I felt like I put a key role in helping Greg van Avermaet win the overall and win the final stage.”
His next race will be the Eneco Tour, the 7-day ProTour race with two time trials, held on August 8 to 14. ”From there, it’s mostly about resting and making sure my body is really rested and really ready to go for the start of the Vuelta.”
Phinney is excited to tackle his first Grand Tour. “I think I’m definitely ready for it, more ready right now than I was at the beginning of the season, I feel really confident in my fitness, both physically and mentally so I couldn’t ask for much more. Happy that the team believes in me enough to give me a Grand Tour start.”