Ochowicz: BMC Racing Team still hopeful Phinney will return to competition this season

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HUY, Belgium (CT) – There has been a period of silence from the BMC Racing Team about Taylor Phinney and his ongoing return from serious injury, but the team’s President Jim Ochowicz confirmed on Monday morning that he is continuing to make progress.

Ochowicz spoke to CyclingTips on the matter and said that a 2015 return was still possible.

“All I can say about Taylor is that he continues to improve and that we are hoping that he races before the end of the season,” he said. “But there is no specific date yet.

“As soon as we know that he is able to race, we will of course let everybody know. But that has not happened yet.”

Pressed if it was certain that he would be able to return to the sport, he simply repeated that he hoped he would be back in the races by the end of the year.

Phinney suffered a compound fracture to his left tibia and fibula when he crashed during the USA pro road championships on May 26 of last year.

While he initially said that he expected to return to racing before the end of the season, the injury proved to be considerably more complicated than expected and he has still not signed on again since.

He spoke about his complicated road back in a CyclingTips interview earlier this year.

Van Garderen shining in Tour, moves up to third overall

On a more current note, Ochowicz talked about the BMC Racing Team’s impressive Tour de France campaign minutes prior to the start of stage three. He referred to Rohan Dennis’ triumph in the opening time trial and also Tejay van Garderen’s time gains over rivals like Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) on day two.

TDFR 2014 - stage -16

“From our perspective, it is going good for us. Having the yellow jersey, winning a stage,” he told CyclingTips. “We are just starting stage three, so it is already saying something pretty positive about the organisation.

“We have had two really good days of racing for us. We didn’t win yesterday, we lost the jersey, but we gained some time on some competitors in the front group with Tejay so we are pleased.”

He added that the team knew the roads of stage three week, having raced and trained on the Ardennes climbs, and that it was gunning for a strong performance on the roads to Huy.

That wish duly transpired, with van Garderen netting a fine sixth on a steep hill that didn’t suit his diesel-like climbing style.

The performance moved him up to third overall, 13 seconds behind new race leader Chris Froome (Sky).

Equally significantly, he has opened a solid advantage over rivals such as Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar), who are 23 seconds, one minute 25 seconds and one minute 43 seconds behind him now.

The American said prior to the race that he believed he could land a podium finish in the race and, at this early point, he is certainly on course.

“The idea was to gain time on the opening day in the time trial and to maintain position through now until the team time trial, and see where we are after that,” said Ochowicz. “Right now we are on schedule doing what we are supposed to be doing.”

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