Phinney sets Paris-Roubaix as top goal for 2013
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Phinney sets Paris-Roubaix as top goal for 2013

by Shane Stokes at 12:52 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Roubaix
American rider lays out targets and assesses current season

Taylor PhinneyHe’s stepped up a level in his second pro season and now an older, more experienced and more confident Taylor Phinney is ready for what he hopes will be a very big year in 2013. The 22 year old American has twice won the under 23 version of Paris-Roubaix and sets the pro edition as his overriding ambition for the season to come.

“The Classics are the biggest focus of the first half of the year,” the BMC Racing Team rider told VeloNation this week. “Paris-Roubaix is the number one goal, then the second-biggest will be the world championship time trial in Florence.”

Phinney has two big motivations to chase the latter event. The first is that he finished just five seconds behind repeat world champion Tony Martin in this year’s race, missing out on the rainbow jersey by an extremely small margin. The second is the location of the Florentine time trial; he is from the US, but lives in Italy and sees the route of that TT as being very familiar.

“It will essentially be on some home roads because I live really close to the course,” he said, making clear that this will give him an additional focus.

Phinney turned professional prior to the 2011 season and rode the Vuelta a España that year. This year it was the turn of the Giro d’Italia, with the young American winning the opening stage and wearing the Maglia Rosa until the team time trial.

That leaves the biggest Grand Tour as the only one he is yet to make his debut in, but he states that he is not yet sure if he will do it or not. “I am waiting for the Tour route to come out to see what it is like, as I have heard it is pretty hard,” he said. “It doesn’t have a prologue, which is unfortunate for guys like me and Cancellara.

“I am not sure whether I do the Giro or the Tour. Hopefully not the Vuelta as I'd love to race again in the US and do Colorado, which was one of my favourite races of the year along with the Olympics road race.

“Anyway, Paris-Roubaix and the world championships are the two biggest goals of the year, then we will see what kind of Grand Tour schedule I am on. What’s important is doing another Grand Tour; I felt that was essential in bumping up my level this year.

“I had a lot of fun at the Giro as well. It was a really fun experience for me while being extremely difficult at the time.”

Phinney may be one of the youngest riders in the World Tour bunch, but he is already established as a respected figure and is making good progress. He’s also shown his own mind on sensitive issues, telling Velonation in a long interview this week that he believes cycling has an issue with some riders stacking up on ‘legal doping’.

In that feature, he spoke about the dangers and problems such pill usage causes, and also discussed his own philosophy as a young rider.

His opinion generated a huge response, partially because he is one of the strongest young talents in the sport and because his call for change is timely in light of the USADA/Armstrong case.

Looking back at his season, Phinney showed that he is one of the best time trialists in the peloton. Because of his speed against the clock, he deems the year a success.

“I think the season went great...I couldn’t really have asked for more,” he said. “I had three really close calls that I was kind of disappointed with, but also really happy as well. The first two were at the Olympics and world championships….it was hard to be so close to a medal twice at the Olympics, finishing fourth in the time trial and the road race. It was also tough to go so close to the rainbow jersey at the world championships.

“At the same tine, I am young and that drive to succeed is higher than ever now, and it is mainly due to the fact that I cam so close both times and I realised I have what it takes. So I think it has been a really good year, a real stepping stone kind of season. Now I look forward to next year and really achieving some big goals.”

Also see: Taylor Phinney Interview: Getting the pill culture out of the sport


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