He’s been out of competition for 62 weeks following a near career-ending crash in the US national championships but Taylor Phinney has spoken with optimism prior to his return to action on Monday in the Tour of Utah.
“I feel great. My weight is good and all of my power numbers are pretty good. I have been training since February, so it has been a long time coming. I am just happy to get back in there,” the American rider stated.
Phinney suffered a bad leg fracture plus knee injuries when a negligent motorbike driver caused him to crash during a high speed descent. He has had a long and uncertain period trying to return, but has made progress and he and his team now believe he is at the point where he can pin on a number again.
“I am really excited to race. I am a bit anxious, but not in a nervous or stressed kind of way,” he stated. “I just want to get back into it. I feel like I have a different perspective on how the bike race is going to unfold in front of my eyes.
“Having been gone for so long, I feel like I will be able to take a step back and see things in a bit of a different light. So I am excited to test that out.”
Phinney’s time away from the sport saw him do a number of different things with his extra time. He got a pilot’s licence, did a lot of painting. He also developed a new outlook to the sport, as can be seen in this long interview.
As regards the future, he plans to take things one step at the time.
“I am not quite at the stage of starting to set goals yet. I want to get back in the race and see how it feels,” he stated. “The goal beyond Utah is to finish this race and have a result here in one of the stages. I have been looking at the course profiles and have picked out a couple days that I like.
“Beyond that, I want to race the USA Pro Challenge and represent in my home state. That is one of my favourite races and I have only gotten to do it one time, in 2012. For right now, it is making sure I can come back and race and have minimal pain and be competitive. I kind of have to start from square one.”
He will be joined by team-mate Peter Stetina in the Tour of Utah. Stetina has also been working hard to return from injury, having suffered multiple fractures in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco this spring.