Marco Pinotti Interview: Italian hoping to do one more season, then take up a coaching role
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Marco Pinotti Interview: Italian hoping to do one more season, then take up a coaching role

by Shane Stokes at 12:29 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews
Multiple national TT champion aims to arrive at worlds ‘in best possible condition’, fight for a medal

Marco PinottiSix-time Italian national time trial champion Marco Pinotti is in the final year of his current contract with the BMC Racing Team but has indicated that he is hoping for one more season in the peloton before hanging up his wheels.

The 37 year old, who recovered from shoulder injuries sustained at last year’s world championships and this year’s Tour of the Mediterranean, and once again won the Italian TT title in June, is aiming for a strong end of season.

He started the Tour of Poland today and likely ride the Vuelta a España prior to targeting a medal at the world championship time trial.

Pinotti knows that the clock is ticking on his career but also feels ready to race in 2014. “I’m at the point that if I stop, it is fine. After the Olympic Games, I said this might be my last year. And especially after my injury at the beginning of the season. I had peace of mind in saying I could stop.

“However as the form comes around and I feel I am still competitive, still at a very high level in the time trials, then it makes me want to keep going. If I get a good option, if I have the chance to stay with BMC or race with another good team, I hope to do another year.”

Pinotti is one of the most respected members of the peloton and has earned a reputation for fair play and honesty. Apart from to his national titles, he has also twice won the final time trial in the Giro d’Italia, has led the race overall and was also ninth in the final general classification in 2010. He was also the winner of the 2008 Tour of Ireland and has taken stages in the Tour de Romandie, the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Tour of Austria.

In addition to that, he has also been a valued team worker for squads such as HTC Highroad and the BMC Racing Team. He’s shown his strength on many times in the past and hopes to continue doing so for some time yet.

Worlds a big target once again:

Last September Pinotti was looking good for the bronze medal in the world TT championships but crashed in the second half of the race. That was a big blow to his morale, particularly has he was picking up speed as the event progressed. He’s determined to head back to the worlds this year and try again.

Marco Pinotti“Last year was a big opportunity for me,” he said, thinking back to the race in the Netherlands, and what might have been. “A lot of factors came together to make the worlds good. It was Olympic year so you had riders who were focussed on that and not the world championships. As a result you didn’t have Wiggins, you didn’t have Cancellara. Two key names were missing…so it was a big opportunity to get a medal for me.

“If you look at this year’s course in Firenze, the riders who were first and second last year, Martin and Phinney, are suited very well to it. Then you have Cancellara who is very motivated, Wiggins who is very motivated. So you have four riders at a level above the others

“But we all start with the same time, and I am not very far from a medal. A world championship is always open. Maybe one of the favourites will have a bad day or a bad approach at the world championships. My goal is to be there in the best shape I can and then we will see what happens.”

Getting there in top condition will involve hard racing and also structured training. He began the Tour de Pologne today and rode very aggressively, going clear early on in a long distance break. His performances there will affect what happens next.

“If everything goes well for Poland, I will do the Vuelta,” he said. “I feel good at the moment. I trained well for the nationals and I won it. I went to Austria and improved there in the time trials. Afterwards, I felt it was better to take a small break now as it was more than two months to the world championship; if I would do the Vuelta, I was looking to gain a bit more freshness.”

His goal in the Vuelta is to give himself a good workout, of course, using that race to build his form and his time trial strength for the worlds. He also will work hard for the BMC Racing Team, which will have its own goals there.

Changes at BMC Racing Team as Lelangue moves on:

Marco PinottiPinotti has been a member of the BMC Racing Team since the start of 2012 and has settled in well. While he didn’t take part in the Tour de France, he is aware that the riders there didn’t perform as expected. Both Cadel Evans and Tejay van Garderen were off-form, while Philippe Gilbert and others were quiet in the race.

Gilbert was held back at times in order to ride for Evans, but when he had opportunities he wasn’t able to seize them.

Earlier this week it was announced that the team’s top directeur sportif, John Lelangue, was leaving with immediate effect.

It was billed as a personal decision but give the disappointing Tour and the rumours of tension within the team, it is not surprising that a staff change was made.

Pinotti seemed not to have expected the departure. “For me, it came as a bit of a surprise that he made this decision,” he said. “Myself and John worked together at the Tour of California this year. He was a good director.”

The team has not yet responded to a request sent this week in relation to when and how they will fill the vacancy. Pinotti describes the change as ‘a bit of a shakeup’ and says that Lelangue’s role is a big one to fill.

“John was not just a normal director, he was the head of the sports directors. He was in the car but he was also making the plan of the races,” he explained. “He was the one who was making the final decision about the racing schedule, and had the other directors under his wing.

“In Highroad, the structure was a bit different. Rolf Aldag was the head of the sports directors, but he never drove the car. Okay, he’d come to races and talk to the riders, but he’d never actually drive the car.

“John would do that and he’d also be the one making the final decision at the meetings, doing so after consulting with all the rest. So he had a bigger role than just being a director. I'm not sure who will replace him.”

Future in coaching?

Marco PinottiAfter his career finishes, Pinotti doesn’t see himself as a directeur sportif but would like to have a coaching role. “It might be with BMC or it might be with someone else; I’m not sure what will happen, but that’s what I’d like to do,” he said.

“If I had a good opportunity for next year, I’d consider going into it. I am not talking about being a director sportif, but rather something like a race coach,” he said.

“I think I am pretty good in reading power, looking at the files. I have experience of being able to read the files and knowing what the races demand of the riders. I have both a bit of knowledge of the technical part, of the science behind the performance, and a lot of experience of what happens in the races.

“I think if you look at the evolution of how training is going, the kind of person that has both the knowledge of the science and what is happening in the race will be in demand in the coming years. I am not a PhD who knows all about sports science. But they have no idea about races – it is not only about numbers, it is about many other factors that you don’t see in a training file, that you don’t see in a power meter. Things you know only if you have done races.”

An engineer by qualification, Pinotti has long had an interest in training and the technological aspect, and has an analytical mind. He has coached the Kiwi rider Linda Villumsen for several years, and helped guide her to several time trial medals at the world road race championships.

“I work with Linda, I give her the training and we talk. She has trust in me,” he said. “We started three or four years ago and we kept our coaching relationship since then.

“I like the idea of doing more in that area. My ideal situation is to race one more year and then go into a race coach role. But we’ll see.

“If I find the right conditions, if I find a good team where I have a role for the young riders, that would be good. I don’t have to race at all costs. But ideally I’d like to race one more year.”


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