Former national champion Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) will not enter the USA Cycling Professional Road National Championships after abandoning the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday due to illness. Phinney, the 2010 time trial champion, left the Giro after the second rest day and underwent evaluation at an Italian hospital on Wednesday. BMC Racing confirmed on Friday that Brent Bookwalter would be the team’s only rider in Chattanooga.
“I have been to hospital [Wednesday] morning and my condition is more severe than we initially thought, and I just need some time to recover,” Phinney said in a statement forwarded to VeloNews.
The team has not provided additional information on Phinney’s condition. When contacted via email on Wednesday, Phinney told VeloNews that the team would provide more details on his condition in the coming days.
With the absence of David Zabriskie (Garmin-Sharp), who fractured a clavicle in a crash at the Amgen Tour of California on Friday, Phinney, 22, would have been a rider of intrigue, if not the outright favorite, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on Saturday. Phinney was second in the TT world championships in 2012 and fourth in the discipline at the London Olympics.
One year after wearing the maglia rosa at the Giro, Phinney fought through knee pain, illness, and allergies during the race’s opening two weeks. He finally withdrew on Tuesday.
The sport’s world governing body, the UCI, restricts athletes from entering a sanctioned event before an event from which they have withdrawn ends. The Giro closes on Sunday in Brescia, though Phinney may have been able to receive an exemption from the UCI to compete in Saturday’s time trial, via Article 2.6.026:
A rider dropping out of the race may not compete in any other cycling events for the duration of the stage race that he abandoned, on pain of a 15 day suspension and a fine of CHF 200 to 1,000.
After consulting the event directors and the president of the commissaires panel, the UCI may, however, grant exceptions at the request of a rider and with the agreement of his sports director.
Bookwalter will start the time trial as a favorite in his own right. He is the top returning rider from 2012, when he was third in the TT behind Zabriskie and Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing).
“We did a great week in California and it breeds confidence going into nationals,” Bookwalter said in a team statement. “I feel really good and strong, not too fatigued or weathered. I wish I had a couple teammates there, but I’m excited and motivated to race in my home region of the country.”
The Volkswagen USA Cycling Professional Road and Time Trial National Championships run May 25-27 in Chattanooga.