Phinney very likely to miss Tour of Qatar due to knee problems
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Phinney very likely to miss Tour of Qatar due to knee problems

by Bjorn Haake at 2:51 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Young American has frustrating winter days behind him

taylor phinneyTaylor Phinney had an incredible 2010 season and was looking forward to his first ProTour year with the BMC racing team. But so far, Phinney's preparation left him with a good deal of frustration. Knee trouble has hampered his training and he is very likely to cancel his first appointment of the season, the Tour of Qatar.

Phinney did what is easy to do as a highly motivated young rider in his first ProTour season. He simply pushed it a little too hard, to early. "By November I was getting anxious to get back into it," he wrote on his personal blog "I got a little too excited. Between trail running, Crossfit, mountain biking and big road rides, I did too much, too soon."

It is not the first time he has had trouble with his leg. "The dreaded knee pain I had come to know so well after the past couple years." He flew back to Colorado and met with the medical staff. After some treatment, things looked promising in December. "I was all set and ready to go again, having been prescribed Yoga, daily stretching and the merciless (but effective) hands of Dr. Steve to make sure my body was up and running properly again."

In January it was time for a camp in Los Angeles to get some speed and track work done. With the knee problems past him, he was having a good time, but at the last day of camp, things turned bad. "Only three days before I was to head to Spain to meet my BMC Racing teammates, I felt a small nagging at the back of my knee, on the hamstring."

He arrived in Denia, Spain, to meet the team and despite the travel and the hours of training was feeling fine. "I even slept great my first night in Europe which doesn't happen often." He was rooming with Greg van Avermaet, who moved over from the Omega Pharma-Lotto team. " He is a great guy, coming off a solid 5th place at the World Championship Road Race in 2010," Phinney said.

But the knee pain kept him out of proper training with his new teammates. Team Manager John Lelangue quickly spotted problems with Phinney, who was relieved he could share it with someone. Dr. Max Testa helped adjust the seat to a more comfortable position for Phinney's knee. The experience was frustrating for him, but he also discovered something comforting. "BMC did everything in their power to help me get back to 100%."

Their physio specialist, Dr. David Bombeke, came out from Belgium to work on Phinney. When Bombeke had to return, Phinney went with him, so they could continue treatment. "As depressing as it was to sit out almost every day of training camp, it was just more reassurance that I had made a great decision in coming to this Team BMC."

By the end of camp, which ran from January 14 to 29, Phinney was pain free. "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."

The missed miles means very likely missing the Tour of Qatar (February 6-11). Phinney said that the whole camp he had been hoping that he could make it. "Qatar is a race that I had been pinpointing on my calendar as a race I could do very well in," he said. But a decision had to be made and Phinney is not scheduled to ride in the desert.

Camp ended on a traumatic note as Phinney, John Murphy, Danilo Wyss, and Martin Kohler had food poisoning. "I wasn't loving life very much after that," Phinney added dryly.

It was hard to see all the others do well, too. "I can't tell you how hard it has been for me these past few weeks, seeing friends and competitors like Michael Matthews and Jack Bobridge tear it up while I have to sit on the bench."

At least he now has time to discover the roads around his newly adopted home in Lucca, Italy. "I absolutely love it here," he said.


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