By Gregor Brown
Taylor Phinney (EF Education First) hopes for a strong return by Paris-Roubaix after a knee problem side-lined him in the early cobbled Classics this season.
Right knee soreness forced Phinney to miss the E3 BinckBank Classic and Ghent-Wevelgem in the last week. The American took part in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen on Wednesday (but failed to finish) with eyes on Paris-Roubaix in one and a half weeks.
"I'm all eyes on Roubaix, that's my ticket," Phinney told Cycling Weekly.
"I had a bit of a hiccup last week, didn't get those races in. I didn't really mind missing them, they are super stressful and dangerous and... I'm here [at Dwars Door Vlaanderen], taking it one day at a time, all those clichés."
Phinney had felt some soreness in his right knee. In 2014, he broke his left leg crashing in the US National Championships, but bounced back and in 2018 and placed eighth in Paris-Roubaix.
This season began well with a team time trial win in the Tour Colombia, after which he raced in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Tirreno-Adriatico before being forced to stop in the Three Days of De Panne.
"I had some knee problems last week." Phinney said.
"A risk to race? I don't think so. It's something that came on really fast, I've been doing therapy for a week, sleeping a lot, doing the rehab thing. I'm pretty used to that. I'll see how it goes today and I'm hoping for the best. If it hurts, I'm out and that'll put Sunday in jeopardy."
Phinney is scheduled for the Tour of Flanders this Sunday to support Sebastian Langeveld. The team's leader Sep Vanmarcke is out due to a crash in the E3 BinckBank Classic and may not start the Tour of Flanders.
The following Sunday, Phinney wants to shine in Paris-Roubaix. As an under 23 rider, Phinney won the race twice.
"Yeah, always," Phinney said about being happy to be back on the cobbled roads.
"It's super stressful, dangerous, scary, but all the races are like that now. At least these races are good for me."
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