Fans hoping to see the professional debut of Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing) will have to wait a little while longer. Phinney, the U.S. national time trial champion, announced on his blog Wednesday that he will miss his planned start at the Tour of Qatar due to a knee injury.
“Qatar is a race that I had been pinpointing on my calendar as a race I could do very well in and a race where I could show to my team, the pro peloton, and to the cycling world, what I had to offer in my first year as a professional,” Phinney wrote. “This, however, is the reality of sport, and injuries happen.”
In November Phinney was diagnosed with patellar tendinitis, which he attributed to taking on too large a training load after a month off. A regiment of yoga, stretching and massage therapy reduced the inflammation for two months, but the pain returned before the recent BMC training camp in Denia, Spain.
“I tried to push through it, think of other things but it stayed present in my mind,” said Phinney. “The pain wasn’t really pain at all, it was more aggravating than anything else.”
Phinney was only able to participate in two team rides during the two-week camp. “The whole camp I was hoping, praying that I could still start at Qatar,” he said. “But, in the last days, the clock was ticking down and a decision had to be made. The unknown of whether the injury was going to become inflamed again was too strong and won over the fact that maybe, just maybe it would be all right.”
Phinney raced in the Qatar tour last year with Trek-Livestrong, finishing 44th overall and finishing in the top 10 on two stages.
The 2010 world U23 time trial champion is home in Lucca, Italy, training and hoped to see his first action later this month. “There is talk of (Tour of) Oman, there is talk of Giro di Sardegna, or (Giro del) Friuli,” he said. “It will really come down to my level of fitness and if my knee problems are completely behind me.”
BMC Racing Tour of Qatar Roster
Marcus Burghardt (GER)
Alexander Kristoff (NOR)
Karsten Kroon (NED)
John Murphy (USA)
Manuel Quinziato (ITA)
Michael Schär (SUI)
Greg Van Avermaet (BEL)
Danilo Wyss (SUI)
Sport Director: John Lelangue (BEL)