He’s fashionable. He’s funny. He has weird hair.
Taylor Phinney is also a gifted racer, and there’s reason to expect much of him in the upcoming year: He expects it of himself, and he’s gone to greater lengths to realize goals in his fourth year as a professional, all spent at BMC Racing. His main hope this season is to make the Tour de France team.
“I started my training a little earlier,” Phinney told VeloNews. “I’m back into it now. And I’m excited to keep going forward. Next year the biggest goal other than the classics season is to make it to the Tour de France. It’ll be my fourth year as a professional, which kind of sounds scary because I feel like a fresh face. But yeah — I’ve yet to go to the Tour de France.”
Yet to, of course. Phinney is a pillar of a racer at 6-foot-5 inches tall, and around 180 pounds. His prowess and potential in the classics is well documented (15th at his first Paris-Roubaix, in 2012) as is his pedigree (son of Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter). He finished fourth in both the road race and time trial at the London Olympics.
The Tour commences in Leeds, England, in 2014, where Phinney has friends. He also spent some time knocking around London this off-season.
“Usually in the offseason I take advantage in the sense that I go back home to Colorado, Boulder, which is where I am now, and just lay on the couch for four weeks … but this offseason I ended up doing a lot of traveling and I got to spend 10 days in London pretty much on my own, with some friends coming in and out, which was a lot of fun,” he said.
Phinney’s off-season began just after the UCI Road World Championships in Florence, Italy, in late September. He began training again about three weeks ago. Beyond the Tour, he of course looks to the northern classics.
“I’d like to come out swinging in January,” he said. “I feel good now, just after three weeks of training. I’m not at a super high level, but I’ve been able to stay pretty good with my weight and pretty fit in general.”
The new season will see a few changes for the affable American. He’s going to move his training base to Nice, France, to be closer to riding pals than he was in his beloved Tuscany. And what’s more, he’s hired Reed McCalvin, formerly of Bontrager, as his personal soigneur. Phinney previously worked with McCalvin as an espoir at Livestrong (now Bontrager), where the latter worked closely with athletes including Lawson Craddock, Nathan Brown, and Giro d’Italia stage winner Alex Dowsett.
“He’s not only giving me massage and following my rides and doing bottles and other little things, but he’s also a constant source of entertainment and he’s actually going to move to Nice with his wife,” Phinney said.
The move was one of making good on potential, he said. “In the off-season I came to this realization: If I want to be as successful as I think that I can be, then I need to really go all out with the support structure, and fortunately I have a great contract with BMC and Andy Rihs that gives me that freedom to pull the trigger on some things like that. I think it’s the best thing I could have done for myself.”