Pinotti on worlds TT chances: “I can be third or I can be thirteenth…I cannot predict it now’
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pinotti on worlds TT chances: “I can be third or I can be thirteenth…I cannot predict it now’

by Shane Stokes at 8:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, World Championships
 
Italian says BMC Racing Team is determined to become world TTT champions next year

Marco PinottiLess than two months ago Marco Pinotti clocked up one of the best results of his career when he finished fifth in the Olympic time trial, just eleven seconds behind fourth-placed Taylor Phinney and one minute two seconds off the bronze medal of Chris Froome.

Twice a time trial stage winner in the Giro d’Italia and five times Italian national TT champion, he will today draw on that experience to try to land a medal in the Elite time trial at cycling’s world championships.

Pinotti has already peaked twice this year, once for the Giro and again for the Olympics. He’s trained hard to be ready for the worlds and was feeling good about his form when he spoke to VeloNation this week. “I’ve worked hard for this kind of course. It is a hard parcours, it is not as constant as I like,” he said. “But I have been working for this kind of climb.

“After the Olympic Games, I took one week easy and then I started building up for this world championships. It is not easy to have a third peak in the season, but I will do my best.”

Pinotti sees two main favourites for the race, but notes there are three medals up for grabs. “I think maybe Contador and Martin will be at the top level but there is still room on the podium,” he reasoned. “There are seven to ten riders who are quite equal. It depends on how we cope with the course, how we are on the day. I can be third or I can be thirteenth. I cannot predict it now.

"For example, if you look at the Olympic Games, aside from the top three, from the fourth place to the tenth place, it was really close. It was a matter of one second every kilometre. So there could be many riders on a similar level.”

Team time trial: near miss doubles determination

Now 36 years of age, the Italian continues to race at a high level. He works hard and has recovered well from a bad crash in last year’s Giro d’Italia. He’s also settled in well into the BMC Racing Team, which went painfully close to taking the gold medal in the first-ever UCI trade team TTT held on Sunday.

Riding flat out to try to peg back the advantage opened by the Omega Pharma Quick Step team, the BMC Racing team’s unity crumbled on the Cauberg when Tejay van Garderen set a very brisk pace. Pinotti went out the back, then Phinney suffered and also lost contact. The American was the crucial fourth man and the team had to wait for him, the disrupted cooperation costing it time.

The squad hit the line 3.23 seconds behind Omega Pharma Quick Step’s marker, missing out on gold by a tiny margin.

“It was close – that’s sport,” said Pinotti philosophically, asked for his reaction. “I think the result showed that we were strong. We lost by a few seconds. It was really close. We should be satisfied, but when you lose by such a small margin, you have a disappointment in yourself for a few days. But personally I think we rode well.

“Many people think we lost the race on the Cauberg as you could see we were a bit spread out on the climb. But we could have made up three seconds at the beginning, the end, a few corners. We have to accept the result as it is.”

Van Garderen took the responsibility for the split, saying that he went too fast on the climb. Pinotti didn’t attribute blame; as he notes, the time could have been made up at other points. Looking back, weighing things up now, he believes that he should perhaps have gone harder before the climb, expending his energy and then sitting up.

“Obviously immediately after the race, everyone was disappointed. Personally I was a bit disappointed too as I felt like I failed my team-mates on the Cauburg when I should have been there,” he said. “But I know I am not an explosive rider.

“It was the case that we knew we were close, so we took the Cauberg at a brisk pace. I kept it for thirty seconds and then couldn’t keep it any more. I slowed down as I saw we were still five riders…I didn’t want to call for the team to slow, to tell them to wait. Anyway, it was so noisy, it was a bit confusing.”

What complicated things is that Phinney also got into difficultly due to van Garderen’s pace. “After 50 metres when I slowed down, I saw Taylor was in trouble but it was too late for me to come back,” Pinotti said.

“The plan was not for me to get dropped on the Cauberg, but once we were there, we were really close and the team tried to make it as fast as possible to close the six or eight seconds we were behind in the last time check. If I knew I was going to be dropped, I would have worked a bit harder or longer before the climb.”

In that situation, a team can do one of two things. It can mull over the result, recriminate about what it could have done differently, or it can try to use it to move on, to work harder, to return and to become world champions in one year’s time. Pinotti said that the BMC Racing Team has focussed on the latter, more productive philosophy.

“The positive side when you get second and you are so close is that you still maintain the hunger to achieve the result,” he said, talking about the mood of determination within the team. “When you achieve a result, you kind of relax sometimes, you enjoy it. We will work hard. It was disappointing…but we have to turn this emotion into hunger for next year.”

Pinotti will also seek to harness that emotion in today’s individual race against the clock. A strong ride would do much to make up for the disappointment of the near miss last Sunday, and would also build on the fifth-place finish he achieved in the Olympic Games. What’s certain is that he will give it everything to get the best-possible result for himself and for Italy.

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