Marco Pinotti's Vuelta a España diary: Riding the second Vuelta of my career in preparation for the worlds TT
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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Marco Pinotti's Vuelta a España diary: Riding the second Vuelta of my career in preparation for the worlds TT

by Marco Pinotti at 11:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Vuelta a España
 
Italian rider on the charm and challenges of the Vuelta, Gilbert’s search for a win, his goals for the worlds and decisions about his future

Marco PinottiI writing this from what is my first Vuelta in twelve years. I did it for the first and only time back in 2001. I never thought I was going to be back here, but this year with the world championship a goal, and through some other circumstances, here I am in another Grand Tour.

It is nice to see the Vuelta again. A lot of things have happened since I last rode the race. I wouldn’t say this is a race like another one, although there are common elements too.

One difference is that there is not too much stress outside the race, even if the level of the race is certainly that of a Grand Tour. You can say it is more relaxed, but once you are actually racing, it is like any other three week event. It is similar to the Giro in that respect – the fighting for position, the focus on the win, the stress.

In the final they go fast here too…to achieve results is not easy, like in any other Grand Tour.

In terms of goals here, the first one was that I wanted to try to give my best for the team in the team time trial. I think we were happy with how it went, considering we had some new riders and Philippe Gilbert had the crash from the Eneco Tour. We were not 100 percent, but we were satisfied with the result, finishing eighth.

We are aiming to have a good GC with Santaromita, then to also see if we can take a stage with Philippe or another rider.

Personally I would like to do well in the only individual time trial we have here, and also fine-tune my form for the world championship.

After riding the Tour of Poland, I have been doing quite good training on the TT bike. The feeling I had in the team time trial confirmed that I have been doing things well.

Since then, I have been trying not to overdo it too much on the climbs. I have to stress the body, but not to go too deep. I need to make sure I recover and absorb the training load. The big goal is to end the race stronger than I have come into it.

Not going quite as deep as I would do if I was going for GC means I have a bit more time to look around and take things in. These opening stages in Galicia have been stunning. It is a part of Spain that I have never been in, and it was quite surprising, in a good way. The scenery was beautiful and it was not as I was expecting it to be.

We’ve been to some very nice places, including the Etapa Fin Del Mundo on stage four.

Testing parcours, Gilbert’s jersey and an important career decision for me:

From the moment we rode the time trial, I understood that the profile of the stages that you see in the book have been underestimated a bit. It doesn't really show what the real course is like. Every day in Galicia we have been doing more than 2,000 metres of climbing. Yet if you look at the profile, it seems to be an easier stage than that.

I was told that this Vuelta was designed quite hard, and so far that has been confirmed on the road.

There has been talk about Philippe [Gilbert – ed.] trying to take his first win in the rainbow jersey, and the pressure he may been feeling. He has been in this position last year, chasing the first win of the year in the Vuelta, and I think he is used to being in this position. Of course, he has the world champion’s jersey on his shoulders now. I think having achieved the jersey takes the pressure off this year.

Okay, in some ways he feels he needs to win, especially in the rainbow jersey. He was close in Eneco and probably without the crash, he would have had a coupe of good chances here in Spain. This crash has caused problems and it might take a bit longer to achieve the victory.

If you take out all the mountain finishes in the Vuelta, there are three or four other stages where he can do well. He has been in this position already last year and with the world champion’s jersey, it is even more difficult to win as you are marked by the other riders. But I think he is mature enough to overcome this pressure.

I’ve got a bit of thinking to do at this race. As I said a few weeks ago, I’m been trying to work out if this will be my last season in the peloton or not. I’m still working on that.

I know this might be my last Grand Tour. It is up to me. There are some days in this Grand Tour when I am like, ‘maybe it is time to stop,’ then there are other days like the team time trial where I feel it would be exciting to race another year.

I have to go home, relax, and decide what to do. This Grand Tour will help me to reach a decision, which I will finalise around the time of the world championships. It might be a possibility that I can continue with the team if I want to.

The other possibility is that I could perhaps work with the team as part of the technical staff. We will have to see what happens and how things work out. For me, it is not clear what they might want me to do in that area, and that will be part of the considerations.

For now, though, the priority is to focus on the Vuelta a España and to race well with the team.

Thanks for reading,

Marco


About Marco Pinotti: A pro rider since 1999, Marco Pinotti has spent the past two seasons with the BMC Racing team and is currently riding the Vuelta a España as part of the American WorldTour squad. The 37 year old has had a fine career, winning six national time trial championships, two stages of the Giro d’Italia, netting ninth in the Italian Grand Tour and winning the 2008 Tour of Ireland.

The world time trial championships is his big goal for this season, particularly as it is on home soil and because he was looking set for a possible bronze medal in 2012 prior to crashing out. He is riding the Vuelta as part of his preparation for the worlds, and will be writing a regular diary for VeloNation from the race.

An intelligent and respected rider, Pinotti has given an unique insight into the peloton in his book The Cycling Professor. For more details click here.

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