Marco Pinotti Interview: Strong Olympic ride and next targets
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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Marco Pinotti Interview: Strong Olympic ride and next targets

by Shane Stokes at 9:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Olympics
Italian speaks about his London 2012 experiences

Marco PinottiJust over a minute off a bronze medal and eleven seconds away from Taylor Phinney’s fourth place, Marco Pinotti posted a very strong Olympic performance for Italy yesterday. Riding his first Games at 36 years of age, Pinotti justified his selection with fifth place in the time trial, one of the top international performances of his career.

In fact, it was his second strong ride of the Games, coming four days after he was one of the strongest riders in the early break in the men’s road race. He animated the event, relieved the Italian team of the obligation to chase and also pulled hard when his team leader Vincenzo Nibali successfully bridged across.

Unlike many of those who rode well in the Games, Pinotti did not do the Tour de France. His participation in the Giro d’Italia – where he won the final time trial – meant he was given an alternative racing programme by his BMC Racing Team. He rode the Tour of Austria instead then, after a one day break, began the Tour of Poland. That helped him reach the required high level of form for the Games.

Following yesterday’s strong TT ride, Pinotti told VeloNation about his Olympic experience, his reaction to riding strongly at the Games, what he felt would have been possible with better reconnaissance, his upcoming programme and his thoughts on targeting the worlds.

VeloNation: Marco, well done on your fifth place in the Olympic time trial. How do you feel about the result?

Marco Pinotti: On one hand I am happy. It is a good achievement to get fifth at the Olympics, particularly for a guy who has had to fight all the way until 36 years old to get there.

On the other hand I think I didn’t have the perfect approach. I did only one full recon of the course. I saw the first ten and last ten kilometres, because I made some mistakes the day before and got lost when I was doing it after the group reconnaissance. In some roundabouts I could have gone flat out, but I actually was too careful and when you touch the brakes on rough surfaces like the ones we rode on, you lose a lot of speed. Accelerating afterwards is not my strongest point and I lost out more than the gap between fourth and fifth place. Maybe I could have helped Taylor [Phinney] avoid his second fourth place in a row (smiles).

VN: Did you expect to be so close to the medals?

MP: Well, I think the podium required a super ride that I didn't do – I knew I could be in the top three only if I did something very special. I did what I expected and what I knew I had in my legs…the performance was what was in my abilities and what my trainers expected me to do.

VN: Apart from the Italian nationals, do you consider this your best championship result of your career?

MP: Remember that my last one day TT race at world level in form was in Mendrisio 2009 and I was fourth, so I believe when it comes to course that suits me, I am close to the podium. In 2010 I had a bad sinus infection and couldn't make the trip by plane to Melbourne. That year I had similar form. In 2011 I was 26th only with 40 days of training /easy riding after a serious leg injury.

In all the other time trials during the season I was always in top ten, with two consistent wins [a stage of the Giro d’Italia and of the Tour of Austria].

VN: What are your feelings about the road race and being in the break for so long?

MP: If I knew I was ready for the time trial, the road race was the one I was more worried about. The circuit and the whole course was kind of nervous. I had a role to animate the race, something I have not been doing in the last year in my team, so it was a role I didn't perfectly fit. But I managed to make the break and from then on I worked hard to keep it going as far as possible. When Nibali and Paolini's group came back I gave it my all for another ten kilometres before getting dropped, and that was the moment I only thought about recovering for the time trial.

VN: Does this give you a lot of motivation about the worlds?

MP: Personally it will. But again I don't consider myself selected on these results, just as I didn't count myself out from Olympics when rumours [that he wouldn’t be selected] came out after the Giro. The worlds are in seven weeks and I need to rest, rebuild and have a third peak of form which might be not so high. I want to prepare anyway for the world's team time trial.

I have full respect for Bettini's decisions. He gave me a lot of confidence in the last twelve months, selecting me wasn't a no brainer. He showed that he knows something about cycling and I will accept whatever decision he makes about the World's selection

VN: How has the whole Olympic experience been?

MP: It is incredible. We stayed in the athlete's village, and we had some discomfort and trouble with travelling, but for me it was an eye-opening experience. Every person here has something special in their eyes, they know what they want and what they live for. You feel a special energy and you feel part of it. I wish every young athlete could dream and experience this, even once.

VN: So what will be your next races?

Well, now I will do the Clasica San Sebastian and then Hamburg and Plouay. I will do one-day races at the weekend and focus on training during the week.


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