DENIA, Spain (VN) — Taylor Phinney will earn his paycheck in his rookie year with BMC and will have a very busy spring racing schedule that should see him starting both Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.
Phinney — already one of the star media attractions during BMC’s team presentation on Wednesday — also revealed that he’s mulling a run at the time trial for the 2012 Olympic Games.
“I’m bummed that they pulled the individual pursuit as an Olympic sport because that seems to be one the reasons why I was put on this earth,” Phinney told VeloNews. “The U.S. doesn’t have a team pursuit program and we’re not sure if I will race the omnium. Right now I want to be a road bike racer, that’s where my future lies, that’s where my heart is.”
The 2012 Olympic Games are important Phinney, so much so that he said one of the reasons he chose BMC over staying with RadioShack was because he wanted the guarantee that he would be on the same bike going into the London Games.
Phinney said he believes he has medal potential, citing Levi Leipheimer, who won bronze in the last Olympics at the 2008 Beijing Games.
“We’re thinking that the time trial might be a better option (than running the multi-event omnium track event),” Phinney continued. “I beat Levi (at U.S. nationals) and he was third in Beijing, so if you do the math …”
Phinney was officially unveiled as a BMC rider at the team’s presentation Wednesday in Spain and many of the European journalists on hand were keen to find out more about the American phenomenon.
BMC managers are excited about Phinney’s potential, but insist they will not put too much pressure on him.
“The goal for Taylor this season is to discover these important races and learn what it is to race at the top, elite level of the sport,” BMC sport director John Lelangue told VeloNews. “We are not putting any pressure on him at all. Of course, if he’s in position to win a race, we’re not going to hold him back. We like that he is excited and wants to do well. That shows the attitude of a winner.”
Phinney’s spring schedule shapes up like this: he’ll debut at Qatar and Oman before racing either Paris-Nice or Tirreno-Adriatico. His spring classics program will likely include Ghent-Wevelgem, Three Days of De Panne, Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. Then he’ll fly back to the United States to race in the Tour of California and the U.S. nationals.
“The team is great and not putting any pressure on me. The only pressure I will feel is the pressure that I will put on myself,” Phinney said. “All these races, except Qatar, I’ve never done before, so I will be going to learn. I am most excited about racing Flanders and Roubaix. Those are the races that I envision myself trying to win as I get older.”