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“I cannot get too carried away thinking about racing just yet. My knee gets swollen after a too-long ride, or too much time in the gym. Things are obviously taking longer than we had hoped for. It’s been a long process.”

Photo: Sirotti


19.12.2014 @ 11:49 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Taylor Phinney has revealed that it is still to early for him to set a date for his comeback to racing after breaking his leg in a crash at the USA National Road Race Championships in June.


“I need a few more months of general strengthening to get to where I am pain-free,” Phinney said. “I need the leg to get back to 90-, 95-percent strength before I can start talking about other things.”


24-year-old Phinney has spoken about his desire to be back in time to try and take the Yellow jersey at the Tour de France and to win the Rainbow Jersey on home soil at the Worlds. The Tour of California has been thrown around as his first race back, but Phinney isn’t getting carried away.


“I cannot get too carried away thinking about racing just yet,” he said. “My knee gets swollen after a too-long ride, or too much time in the gym. When we were talking about things a few months ago, we thought maybe returning to the Dubai Tour in February, but things are obviously taking longer than we had hoped for. It’s been a long process.”


Phinney, who is one of the most popular riders in the peloton, has managed to make light of the situation by naming his legs, “Greipel’, for his normal leg, and “Froomey” for his broken one, using spindly climber Chris Froome and giant sprinter Andre Greipel as the inspiration.


“There is a four-centimeter difference in girth between ‘Froomey’ and ‘Greipey,’ but the doctors say I am recovering well. And we’re doing it in a healthy and sustainable way. They said if I rushed it, I could suffer arthritis when I am in my 30s,” he said. “There is always a concern I might not get back to the same level I was. Some even suggested that I return to college. It’s not been easy, but things are going pretty well.”


His sporting manager at BMC, Allan Peiper agreed that there is no way a comeback date can be set just now, and Phinney will have to play it day by day.


“We have to play it by the moment, and see how he recuperates, how the rehab goes, how his power numbers are,” Peiper said. “It’s going to take some time.”


Peiper said it was important for Phinney to join his teammates at their training camp in Denia, Spain. Even though Phinney is still unable to go on the long, intense training rides, he can join the squad with other activities; something that Peiper said is vital to Phinney’s morale and recovery.


“He’s been to war and back. He’s a different kid. He’s been through some rough stuff,” Peiper said. “I can see how hard it’s been for him. There is a sparkle that is missing in his eye. After going through what he’s been through, the accident, the surgery, the rehab, the physio, and then to have it in limbo, you have to doubt, ‘can I ever do what I wanted to do?’


“I asked him the other day what his goals were for the season, and he said, ‘My first goal would be to start the Tour of California, and then make the Tour de France,’’” Peiper continued. “They’re long shots, but it’s important to have a focus. He’s the American GI Joe. If anyone can do it, he can.”




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