VeloNation Interview: Pinotti to try to reclaim yellow in time trial, but Giro is the big goal
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Thursday, April 29, 2010

VeloNation Interview: Pinotti to try to reclaim yellow in time trial, but Giro is the big goal

by Conal Andrews at 8:40 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Giro d'Italia, Tour of Romandie

Currently sitting second overall in the GC at the Tour de Romandie, HTC Columbia’s Marco Pinotti has the chance to take his second stage win of the 2010 event when he lines out in Friday’s time trial. The Italian has won four national time trial championships and was fifth in last year’s world championship race against the clock, so he certainly has the ability to win the time trial and recapture the yellow jersey.

Prior to the start of the race he felt that the longer TT would suit him better than the opening day’s racing. “The prologue is a little short but also this is a good trial before the Giro. We have Rabon who is maybe the favourite for this race, with other riders, but I will do my best in it,” the 34 year old told Velonation the day beforehand. “Of course, the time trial on Friday suits me a lot better, but I’ll try in the prologue.”

As things turned out, he aced the test, beating Liquigas’ Peter Sagan by one second over the 4.3 kilometre distance. That bodes well for tomorrow’s 23.4 kilometre effort, where he has possibility of taking another win and recapturing the yellow jersey prior to two mountainous stages.

Pinotti is building towards the Giro d’Italia, his main season goal, but pushed hard in the recent Vuelta a Pais Vasco and again in the current Romandie event to try to hone his form. He told Velonation that he didn’t specifically aimed to hit strong condition for those races, but was instead just gaining good shape as a consequence of aiming for the Giro.

“Pais Vasco was not a target as such,” he said, “but I usually go there with good form. This year I did Tirreno, and then I was felling good after that. Last year I won a stage in Pais Vasco and then this year, I was able to be in the front on the first day so then I tried to go for GC. In the end I achieved sixth place, and above all I had good feelings the whole week. I am really happy with that.”

He continued to race after the Spanish ProTour event, heading to the Netherlands and Belgium for two big one day contests. “I did two Classics, Amstel and Flèche. The results were not so bad, but were not great either. They are not races that suit me and my style of racing.”

He was 71st in Amstel and then 28th in Flèche but, even though he didn’t finish closer to the win, he said that the experience was a very positive one.

“For me, the two races help me to work on other skills for one-day races,” he explained. “Normally they are like a boost to the fitness, they are really, really good quality, good training. That’s if you can call these races training!

“Now I’ve got Romandie before the Giro. This is normally the month where I am good. Two years ago I was third, last year I had some bad luck but we won the team time trial. So hopefully I can be good this year as well.”

Pushing hard in Switzerland and Italy:

Even though the Giro is the big goal, Pinotti is content to race hard in the run-up to the race, rather than holding back more as some riders do. He said that this is largely down to respect for the events.

“Normally people say to try hard on just one stage in Romandie and then take it easy before the Giro. But I don’t really like to go to races just for training. If I have a bad day then I will accept that, but the main goal is to try to do well every day.

“I am an experienced rider, so in one week I can recover for the Giro. The thing is if you are good, Romandie is a prestigious race…I feel you should go for it if you feel good. In fact, when you have good form, you should try in all the races you go in.”

Pinotti has ridden well in previous Giri d’Italia, holding the pink jersey in 2007 and winning the concluding time trial in 2008. He feels that he will have more freedom this time round, and still dreams of a high GC position.

“Normally our main priority overall would have been [Kanstantsin] Sivtsov but he broke his collarbone in Pais Vasco. I still believe that the course is really hard, especially the last week. I would like to go for GC because I still believe that I can be top ten one day in a Grand Tour. We will see because I will have a lot of chance to go for a stage this year as we don’t have a leader. The target for sure would be the last time trial and another couple of stages.”

As regards the general classification, that would take priority over stage wins if he knew that he was in contention for a high finish. He feels that his condition will be apparent early on, and it will then be possible to make a decision about what goals to target.

“ If I am doing the race and I feel I cannot cope…with the first climbs, you can see if you can be in the top thirty easily or not. If I have to fight a lot to be in the top thirty, then I can forget about finishing highly in the GC.

“I will focus on the climbs [early on], then we will take it day by day.”

He will also be helping out the team sprinter André Greipel, who has raced up an impressive sequence of wins this season. That’ll mean using his energy on the flat – at least early on – controlling breakaway moves and also helping in the run up to the sprint.

However Greipel is also a strong rider on the flat and he can reciprocate, dedicating himself to Pinotti should the latter be in contention.



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