Taylor Phinney embraces role model position, determined to boost cycling levels through success
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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Taylor Phinney embraces role model position, determined to boost cycling levels through success

by VeloNation Press at 6:17 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
BMC Racing Team emphasises ‘no pressure’ for 2011

Talyor Phinney BMC kitAs of two days ago, Taylor Phinney has officially been a BMC Racing Team rider, and he’s counting down the days until he begins competing with the squad.
 
The 20 year old has had a superb career thus far, winning five world championship titles on road and track, including the world under 23 time trial crown in September plus his second individual pursuit gold last March. He’s already competed in the Olympics and his wins include two Paris-Roubaix titles, four stages plus the overall in the 2010 Olympia Tour, a criterium victory at the SRAM Tour of the Gila, plus time trial/prologue victories in the Tour de l’Avenir, the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and at the US Elite TT championship.
 
Phinney’s aware that there’s a lot of people following his career with interest, and he’s hoping to achieve big things in 2011 and beyond and bring more on board to cycling.
 
“I'm always trying to bring new people into the sport,” he said, explaining one of his big motivations. “Whether it means people are following me in the Classics or if I'm going for prologues or time trials, it's not really about highlighting one certain type of race but highlighting the sport in general.
 
“I'm looking forward to being up there with the next big generation. Hopefully I can do my part.”
 
Phinney’s role is all the more important as most of the top names in US Cycling are in their mid to late thirties, and a spate of retirements are on the cards in the next year or two. He, Tejay Van Garderen and others are the next wave and they have the responsibility of ensuring that people don’t turn away once the established household names have gone.
 
However his team is also well aware that he’s just out of his teens, and so needs to do things carefully to ensure that he strikes the right physical and mental balance. Directeur sportif John Lelangue emphasises the softly, softly approach, recognising that the history of the sport
is full of young riders who achieved less than they should have in their pro careers by pushing it too soon.
 
Phinney will begin by doing the Tours of Qatar and Oman, Paris-Nice and then the spring Classics. After that, things will be a little less intense in terms of the amount of days racing he’s scheduled to do. “Once his Classics program is over, he'll go to the Amgen Tour of California to prepare for the U.S. national championships on the road and the time trial,” stated the Belgian. “This season will be all about getting experience. There will be no pressure. The other guys on the team are happy to help develop him.”
 
Team President Jim Ochowicz echoes this, and makes it clear that he too is prepared to be patient. “For Taylor, it will be about understanding how the pro peloton races and what some of the nuances are around a ProTeam,” he explained. "Obviously, the rookie year for him will be a lot of new territory. We want to get him the experience he needs, but not where it's going to cost him down the road.”
 
Apart from those heading to the Santos Tour Down Under, most of the team riders will meet at a training camp later this month, honing their form prior to the first races. Phinney released a shot today of him wearing the BMC Racing Team kit, but that’s the 2010 version; the riders are likely to receive the new kit at the training camp, where they will continue getting to know each other and planning for what they hope will be a highly successful season ahead.

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