Marco Pinotti Interview: BMC Racing Team leader ready for Giro d’Italia
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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Marco Pinotti Interview: BMC Racing Team leader ready for Giro d’Italia

by Shane Stokes at 7:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Giro d'Italia
Italian aiming for sixth consecutive year of good performances

Marco PinottiOne year ago he exited the race with a fractured pelvis and a question mark over where he would ride in 2012. Today Marco Pinotti will click into his pedals, thunder down the start ramp and begin this year’s Giro d’Italia as the designated GC leader of the BMC Racing Team in the race.

Pinotti has aspirations for a high finish in the event, but has already succeeded in getting back to his previous level of form. He, then-teammate Craig Lewis and others were involved in a high-speed smash last year and since then, he has worked methodically to get back into good shape.

“I am happy. I have been working really hard from September, October on,” the friendly Italian told VeloNation in recent days. “Every race I have gone into I have come out a little bit stronger. I made small improvements in race after race. For me, physiological benefits come slowly. From Oman, Tirreno - every race has been a step forward towards great form. I am now at a good point before the Giro.”

Pinotti’s performances this year have been very stable, showing no after-effects of last year’s crash. He was seventeenth in the Tour of Oman, tenth in the time trial and 30th overall in Tirreno-Adriatico, sixth in the TT and twentieth overall in the Criterium International, then fourth in the TT and 22nd overall in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

The Giro del Trentino was a good one for him and his BMC Racing Team; they won the team time trial there, and Pinotti finished up ninth overall. The ride put him ahead of several of his likely Giro rivals such as John Gadret (Ag2r La Mondiale) and Ivan Basso (Liquigas Cannondale).

Now he’s about to start his first major goal of the season. “It will be a hard Giro,” he predicts, “but I think I have a good role. I go into the Giro with a lot of confidence that the team is going well. It took the victory in Trentino, in the team time trial. In the Giro, there will be different competitors but normally the win means that you have good confidence and you go into the races more relaxed. I think we will have a good showing.”

The Giro team time trial will take place on Wednesday and another strong ride there could give Pinotti an advantage over his opponents. Before then, he has a chance to push for a high finish in the 8.7 kilometre opening time trial today in Herning.

BMC Racing team-mate Taylor Phinney has said that he wants to try to win, but Pinotti will also race as quickly as possible on day one of his Giro project.

Aims for Italian Grand Tour:

Pinotti has long regarded the Giro as his favourite Grand Tour. He has achieved something notable in the past five editions of the race, wearing the pink jersey in 2007, winning the final time trial in 2008, taking the team time trial in 2009 and then finishing ninth overall one year later.

Marco PinottiLast year brought more success, as HTC Highroad’s triumph in the opening team time trial put him back in the Maglia Rosa once again. It’s an impressive run of achievements.

Asked his goals this time round, he’s ambitious but also prefers not to set specific targets. “As I go in, it is difficult to say. It would be nice to be a top ten overall, but I have to deal with the competitors, I have to deal with the difficulties of the race,” he said. “I tell you, it is not an easy Giro. It will be decided in the last week. If you have the form, you can stay there quite easily. You will have support from the team.

“After one week, after the first mountain stages in Italy, it will be easy to decide if you can go for the GC or you can’t. I am confident with my form, but you have to deal with the competitors.”

Perhaps part of his reluctance to nail his colours to the mast is because in the past, he has been up against riders who have pulled out extraordinarily good performances. And by extraordinary, we refer to those such as Emanuelle Sella and Riccardo Ricco, who both shone in the 2008 Giro, then later tested positive for CERA.

Pinotti is widely regarded as a clean rider. He will focus on achieving his own best performance rather than making public statements about where he thinks he will finish.

Then again, perhaps his reluctance to name a number also comes from the fact that he knows Grand Tours are unpredictable, that good days and bad days and luck and tactics and many other factors swirl together to produce the final outcome.

He’ll believe in his chances, while also knowing that it’s difficult to make predictions. “One year I was in the top ten, last year I was close to it… I am confident that I can still make it, but there are many riders who want to do GC,” he said. “We will see day by day. The good thing is that the form is here.”

After the Giro:

Marco PinottiPinotti’s gradual buildup has been a deliberate one. He isn’t thinking about the month of May alone, but has a longer-term focus too. “I am not sure if I have reached my peak yet. I believe that I can do the Giro and come out from it a bit stronger so that I can keep going until July, August.”

Does that mean he is aiming to ride the Tour de France? Not exactly, but he doesn’t rule it out.

“I’m thinking more about the Olympic Games,” he said. “We will see after the Giro. I am on the long list for the Tour de France, as are many riders of the team, but it is the team who will decide. My priority is not going to the Tour after the Giro, but rather to do a good Giro and then I will see after that.

“After the Giro, the goal is to go to the Olympic Games. Going to the Tour de France or not is a matter of a team decision.”

That’s getting ahead of things, though. Right now, on day one of the Giro d’Italia, the focus is fully on the battle for stages and the general classification.


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