Pinotti sidelined for three months, Italian TT championship defense impossible
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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pinotti sidelined for three months, Italian TT championship defense impossible

by Shane Stokes at 7:21 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Injury
HTC Highroad rider admits world championship ride is unlikely

Marco PinottiHospitalised following a bad crash on stage 19 of the Giro d’Italia, Marco Pinotti is trying to remain upbeat even though he’s unsure if he will be able to compete again this season. The 35 year old Italian fractured the acetabulum in his pelvis on Friday, and has been recovering in the Ospedali Riuniti do Bergamo since.

“We were going quite fast because they were chasing the breakaway with 35 kilometres to go,” Pinotti told VeloNation. “The peloton was lined out, going quite fast, and there was a pole in the middle of the road. A rider went into it and was the first to crash. I didn’t realise what happened and I was four or five positions behind. Some rider hit him, I hit him and then I feel over the other side. I tried to brake but it was raining heavily at this moment.

“About eight to ten riders crashed, there was nothing we could do to avoid the crash. I stood up, but I realised immediately that there was something broken in my leg or my pelvis, because I couldn’t walk. I just waited for the ambulance then.”

This crash aside, Pinotti has been quite lucky during his career. Others such as Stuart O’Grady and Cadel Evans have broken multiple bones, but he last had a fracture eight years ago. His pelvis was also the damaged area on that occasion, but he was able to recover in five weeks.

Unfortunately, things won’t be so quick this time. “They [his doctors] have said that I have to spend ten to twelve weeks away from the bike; maybe four weeks lying on the bed, then starting to move around with a stick. I can do some walking after eight weeks. They have said to fully recover one hundred percent, I need three months.

“I am not in a hurry, because it doesn’t matter if it is two months or three months…the main thing is to recover one hundred percent and focus on the next goal.”

Season will be very affected by crash:

When asked if he thought that he would be able to compete again this year, Pinotti wasn’t able to give a definite answer. He said that the three month period mentioned by doctors was a guideline, and that it could end up being a little less, or a little more. He said that he’s focusing on recovering as well as possible, concentrating on that process rather than mulling over what he will miss.

“The worlds is probably out,” he said. “I cannot defend my title in the Italian championship, which is in less than four weeks time. If I think about what I have missed with this crash, I get crazy. I could have been top twenty despite some problems in the Giro and I could have won the last stage, or at least been in the top five.

“I could have done a good Tour of Switzerland, I could have won the national championships. I could get crazy about a lot of things if I think about it. The best thing to do is just to focus on the recovery, how to get healthy again. The body needs physical and mental energy to recover and so it is best to forget this as soon as possible, not think about it any more.”

Pinotti will undergo checks in the weeks ahead, with those helping to decide when he can resume exercising. He’s a methodical person and while he’s determined to get back to the sport, he also knows that he must be patient to avoid future problems. “I hope I can start again before the end of the season, and I will need decent form to perform,” he said. “ I'm 100% focused and watching my nutrition closely in order to stay fit somehow.

“That said, I am not in too much of a hurry. I hope it will be fast, but I will follow the doctor’s advice and make sure I will be able to do all the physiotherapy treatment. The main thing is also to recover the balance in the legs…one leg is going to be a lot weaker than the other one.”

2012 arrangement yet to be finalised:

Aside from missing the chance to take his sixth Italian TT championship victory, to fight for big results in other races and, possibly, to compete in the worlds, he has another concern.

“My contract expires at the end of this season, so I need to get a new one. Now it is a little difficult because of my position, but I don’t see any problem to find a new contract. I have shown so far that I was doing a good Giro, I was good in Romandie and Tirreno. I can time trial with the top ten, climb with the top 20 and I can help riders in the climbs. I have a huge amount of experience, so it won’t be a problem.

“The main thing is to recover and get healthy again. Here at HTC I fit in well and they know my dedication for the job and how professional I am.”

Indeed it is very difficult to imagine Pinotti being left short. He’s one of the most respected riders in cycling due to his ethics, his humble nature, his dedication to the job and his willingness to help others if and when required. Because of that, many cycling fans have regretted the fact that he had to drop out of the Giro d’Italia due to the crash, two days before trying to win the final time trial.

He’ll have plenty of people wishing him well in his recovery; with luck, they’ll be able to see him racing again sooner rather than later.


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