Pinotti, Hushvod, Phinney and Ballan targeting success in the Giro
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Friday, April 20, 2012

Pinotti, Hushvod, Phinney and Ballan targeting success in the Giro

by VeloNation Press at 5:53 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro d'Italia
 
Strong BMC Racing Team for Italian Grand Tour

Having crashed out of the event last season with a fractured pelvis, Marco Pinotti will return to the Giro d’Italia this year determined to clock up a strong performance in the race.

"The Giro is always a focus for me," he said, speaking after the team confirmed that he would be the GC leader of the squad for the Grand Tour. "My plan is to come with the best possible shape and confirm what I've done so far.”

Pinotti had a long road back from his injury, but was able to return to racing last year when he lined out in the GP Cycliste de Quebec and GP Cycliste de Montreal in September. He also rode the time trial at the world road race championships, then worked hard over the winter to continue rebuilding the strength that he had lost.

The Italian’s efforts have paid off as he has returned to solid form. Top twenty overall finishes in the Tour of Oman and Critérium International showed his base was solid. Since then, he placed fourth in the final time trial in the recent Vuelta al Pais Vasco and, this week, was part of the victorious BMC Racing lineup in the team time trial in the Giro del Trentino.

The latter is part of his preparation for the upcoming Italian Grand Tour, which begins in Herning on May 5th. He’ll start that race with some good objectives.

“It's definitely a hard Giro. I'll look for a spot in the top ten and if it doesn't work out, I'll look to do something in the final time trial,” he said. “Also, the last four or five years there has always been a stage close to where I live. This year, that's the case as well. So for me, it's always important when the Giro comes."

Five time Italian time trial champ Pinotti has a good history in the Giro. He led the race for several days in 2007, won the final time trial in the 2008 edition, finished ninth overall in 2010 and took the pink jersey last season when the HTC Highroad team won the opening time trial.

Other strong riders on team:

The BMC Racing Team lineup for the race is an impressive one, with several big names taking part. Taylor Phinney will ride the race for the first time and the young American has said that he is targeting victory in the first race against the clock.

Former world champion Thor Hushovd is also determined to perform as well as possible in that 8.7 kilometre test. He had a frustrating Classics season and was unable to achieve his goal of winning Paris-Roubaix. In order to bounce back from that, he wants to wear the Maglia Rosa and also to clock up a stage victory.

"I would like to be ready for the prologue to be close in the fight for the pink jersey," Hushovd said. "The Giro is one of the most beautiful races out there. After the Tour de France, it's the next highest race from my point of view.”

Surprisingly, considering his nationality, Ballan will start the race for the first time. He has performed well this spring, netting third in both the Ronde Van Vlaanderen plus Paris-Roubaix, and also finishing fourth in the Strade Bianche race.

BMC Racing Team president Jim Ochowicz believes the team can start with ambitious targets. "Marco will be our team leader, which gives us a chance to look at a top ten finish overall," he Ochowicz. "Some young riders like Taylor Phinney and Mathias Frank will also get opportunities – Taylor in the time trials and Mathias on the mountain stages.

“We are also proud to have Alessandro riding his first Giro, particularly with the good condition he has shown since the start of the season."

BMC Racing Team for Giro d'Italia:

Alessandro Ballan (ITA), Mathias Frank (SUI), Thor Hushovd (NOR), Taylor Phinney (USA), Marco Pinotti (ITA), Mauro Santambrogio (ITA), Ivan Santaromita (ITA), Johann Tschopp (SUI), Danilo Wyss (SUI).

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