Marco Pinotti Blog: Four big favourites for the worlds time trial, then the rest of us
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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Marco Pinotti Blog: Four big favourites for the worlds time trial, then the rest of us

by Marco Pinotti at 8:28 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, World Championships
 
I’m not sure if the Vuelta GC riders will perform at the worlds

Marco PinottiI’m lining out in the world time trial championships today feeling good about my form, but also aware that there are four riders who are the biggest favourites.

They are Tony Martin, Fabian Cancellara, Bradley Wiggins and Taylor Phinney. Phinney is very motivated, it is a course which suits him very well. I think if everything goes well for those four riders, it will be difficult for everyone else to be in the top four. From then on it will be open for the other placings.

That said, everyone will start aiming to get a medal. We all start with the same time and will give it everything. I’d obviously love to get a medal, particularly as it is on home soil. When I say there are four favourites, I am talking about everyone being in their best condition. But you never know what can happen.

For example, Wiggins was doing the Tour of Britain as preparation – there was bad weather there, so who knows how it will affect his form when he is in warmer weather in Italy? But from theory to practice there is a long way.

Personally, I’ve been happy with how things have gone. I crashed out last year when a medal might have been possible so I’ve had this race on my mind for a long time. I had to drop out of the Vuelta a España sick, but I have been feeling progressively better since then.

I went home after the time trial in the Vuelta and I looked at all the training I have been doing before, analysing the training load. With the Tour of Poland, the training between Vuelta and Poland, and the Vuelta together, it was probably the biggest training load that I have done in the past eighteen months.

For me, that is the explanation of my illness. I was probably a bit weak and more exposed to viruses. It confirmed my decision to stop the Vuelta when I did and to let the body rest. Normally you come back a bit stronger after such a big training load.

So, at home, I did four days of rest under antibiotics. I could feel that the sinusitis was going away. I started training two hours one day, and the day after a bit more. After one week, by the end of the antibiotics, I was feeling normal.

As I was unsure how much this illness had affected my form, I did a test on the road as soon as I could. My power numbers were coming back, and so too my sensations about how I was going.

I spoke with Italian selector Bettini and explained the situation. I said to him that it was up to him to make a decision about whether he wanted to bring me to the worlds or not.

He said, ‘no, no, I already thought to bring you. If you are healthy again, it is good, and you will do the time trial with Malori.’ I was pleased with that.

One of the big stories from the Vuelta was that Fabian Cancellara beat Tony Martin there. For me, it was not so surprising because of the course. I think the climb played a little bit in favour of Cancellara, as he was climbing really well in the Vuelta. Also with the downhill – Cancellara is one of the strongest in the downhill, even if it was not very technical.

He won by a big margin…maybe the size of the margin was not expected. But I think Tony on the course of world championship will be very close to Cancellara. We’ll see what happens.

Horner’s Vuelta win not a huge surprise to me:

I didn’t follow the Vuelta too much after I left, in terms of watching it on TV. But I did see the results. On the one hand, there were lots of new kids coming out and winning, like the guy from Argos Shimano [Warren Barguil]. There were three or four new names, breakaways coming to the finish.

On the other, you had the fight for the general classification when you have lots of experienced riders. Horner was on top of them, while Nibali was the youngest. That said, he has already done seven podiums in a Grand Tour.

I wasn’t really surprised that Horner ended up winning overall. When I saw him winning the mountain stage early on, I thought that maybe he would be a big surprise in the race.

Looking at the Vuelta route, the course was perfect for him as there was only one time trial. The other one was a team time trial where he gained time on everyone except Nibali. If you look at his performances in the last four or five years, he has been a very strong climber.

The thing is, he never had the opportunity to really show in the big races, only in the small races. As a rider you see some performances the public don’t recognise. I remember for example in the Basque country in 2009, which Contador won. Horner was riding to support Contador but you could see he was the second best rider in the race.

Then he crashed in Basque Country, injured his shoulder, and he came back in the 2009 Giro and was top five on every climb until he crashed on stage nine or ten, after the first rest day. He broke his leg or something.

He came back again in Vuelta 2009 and crashed again, breaking his pelvis, and came back and was top ten or twelve in Lombardy.

I never saw him being dropped on the climbs when he was in very good form. Also, I think the Vuelta is a little bit like the Giro – the level of the competitors is not so high as the Tour. It is the third Grand Tour and everybody focuses on the two before.

So a rider like Horner who was top ten in the Tour before is a bit similar to Hesjedal, in terms of riding well in that race and then winning another Grand Tour. It was kind of a surprise when Hesjedal won the Giro. But every rider who makes a top ten in the Tour can come to the Giro or the Vuelta and, if they have good condition, have a good parcours for them and good luck, I think they can win the race.

Don’t forget that when Horner was top ten in the Tour, he even had to wait for Armstrong one day, and he lost four or five minutes then.

The result was a surprise to many people, but it was a matter of circumstance, I think. Nibali was not at his top form after the Giro, and the course really suited a light climber like Horner. He was the strongest climber in the race. He lost time in the time trial, as you might expect, but made it up elsewhere. For me it was not really a big surprise.

Horner and Nibali and others will be doing the road race on Sunday; I’m not doing it, I was happy to just focus on the time trial. It will be interesting to see how they do. I’m not sure how it will go for them; I think the Vuelta was very demanding, very hard.

Experience and the ability to cope with bigger racing loads play a role in the end, but I wouldn’t be surprised if nobody from the top ten in the Vuelta is on the podium in Florence. It was a very hard three weeks for them, and will have taken a lot out of them. But we’ll see.

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. 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.

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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