Pinotti begins Vuelta al Pais Vasco today aiming for overall success
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Pinotti begins Vuelta al Pais Vasco today aiming for overall success

by Shane Stokes at 8:45 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Italian time trial specialist feeling ambitious heading into six day race

Marco PinottiMultiple Italian time trial champion Marco Pinotti starts today’s Vuelta al Pais Vasco determined to fight for the overall classification in the race. The respected HTC Highroad rider has previously performed strongly in the Spanish event, and feels that he is in sufficiently good form to play a big part in the outcome.

“I tend to do well in the Basque Country, I was fifth in last year's race and a stage winner in 2009 in Zalla, over the same roads where we'll have the final time trial,” he said. “It's one of the most hard-fought races of the whole season, and every day you have to be close to the front because splits can happen at any time.”

The WorldTour race begins with a 150 kilometre hilly stage starting and finishing in Zumarraga. Four undulating to mountainous road stages follow, then things finish up with a 24 kilometre time trial. The race against the clock is Pinotti’s speciality, and so his tactic will likely be to stay as close as possible to the leader on the preceding stages, then strike on the final day.

Pinotti was third in the time trial at the Tour of Oman and was sixth in the TT at Tirreno-Adriatico, taking the same placing overall. He’s continued to build condition since then, and is feeling ambitious. “I'm in good shape,” he said. “My last race, Tirreno-Adriatico, went well and I want to see if I can take another step up in the Tour of the Basque Country.”

The 35 year old will be up against some other big names, including Olympic champion and GP Miguel Indurain winner Samuel Sánchez (Euskaltek-Euskadi), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha), Andy and Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek), Dan Martin, Ryder Hesjedal and Christian Vande Velde (Garmin-Cervélo), Ivan Basso (Liquigas-Cannondale), Andreas Klöden, Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner (Team RadioShack), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD), Rigoberto Uran (Sky Procycling) and Alexandre Vinkourov (Astana).

Pinotti will race alongside HTC Highroad team-mate Tejay Van Garderen, who could also fare very well. The young American was second in the Volta ao Algarve earlier this year and if he is feeling good, will also be a contender.

“We'll see how they are going after the summit finish [on stage four] and then see what they can do in the last time trial,” said directeur sportif Valerio Piva.

“The Basque Country always has an exceptionally difficult route and the riders have to be very focused, but Marco knows it well.”

They will be supported by Michael Albasini, Caleb Fairly, Craig Lewis, Tony Martin, Hayden Roulston and Kanstantsin Sivtsov. Martin won Paris-Nice this year and depending on how the race plays out on the tougher climbs, could also be in the running.


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