Pez: Ciao Marco. You have been to America quite a few times now for racing. How do you find things here in America compared to Europe?
Marco Pinotti The racing is really nice here in America. I was here in Georgia and for Philly week in 2005, and also the Tour of California along with track racing in LA, so I really like it here. The organization is always excellent at the big US races – nice hotels, good roads, great fan support. It’s a new thing for American spectators, so there’s usually a lot of passion amongst the fans. It’s a bit different from European racing, but it’s a good different.
Pez: What are the objectives for Georgia for Prodir – Saunier Duval?
Pinotti Both myself and the team did pretty well last year. I placed top 10 in 3 stages and was 7th overall, so I was quite happy with my results. So this year we have similar goals, and I’ve been fortunate enough to be the designated team leader for this week. Christophe Rinero and Alberto Fernandez will also be there for the overall. Of course, the time trial on Stage 3 will determine a lot of things, and we’ll see how the racing progresses. At the same time, we’ve got fast sprinters here in Ventoso and Pagliarini, so we’ll work for them in the flatter stages. Aaron Olson and Peter Mazur are a bit of the jokers to get into the breaks.
Pez: How do you see the race shaping up?
Pinotti Brasstown is obviously the queen stage. But I think the longer time trial this year will really increase the importance of that stage to the same level because of the potential for time gaps. I’m a good TT rider so I’ll be looking to do my best there.
Pez: Speaking of TT’s, how do you like the Scott bikes?
Pinotti I’m generally not too picky about bikes, but for sure the Scotts are excellent. Very light and stiff.
Pez: How has the atmosphere on the team been with the arrival of Simoni and eventually Millar?
Pinotti It has changed a LOT and I think for the better. Previously, we’ve been a team that has been looking to show well and get good results here and there. We did a good job of that and was 7th in the ProTour. But with a clear Giro favourite like Simoni on the team, the whole atmosphere and focus has changed. This year, all eyes will be on the Giro, and we’ll be going there for the win. That’s a big difference in mentality. It also gives our team greater visibility, being known as “Simoni’s team” for a race like that. For example, the Giro team has already met twice to practice the team time trial to get that nailed down. I’m really looking forward to it!
Pez: So what do you think of the Giro this year? How hard is it going to be?
Pinotti It looks incredibly hard on paper in the last week, but the 2nd week is also not easy. Sometimes when the course looks so hard, riders take it easier because of a little bit of fear, so we’ll have to see how it plays out on the road.
Pez: Beyond the Giro, what are your own goals for this year?
Pinotti I would really love to defend my Italian time trial championship this year. It’s always a huge honour to wear the tricolour. I would also like to aim for the Italian track champs in the individual pursuit, and the two will hopefully set me up for the World’s TT in Austria.
Pez: Which region of Italy do you come from?
Pinotti I come from the Bergamo area. It’s a beautiful region in the north of Italy. The climbs aren’t next door to me, but I’m fairly close to the Mortirolo and also the Stelvio.
Grazie mille Marco and good luck in Georgia and 2006!
PezCycling is travelling with Discover Adventures at the Tour de Georgia, see their website at DiscoverAdventures.com