Italian time trial champion Marco Pinotti is one who could surprise in the elite time trial. Cyclingnews' Shane Stokes spoke to him after his Tour of Ireland victory, hearing about his season assessment and his aim to ride well in Varese.
Although other riders' Worlds records may mark them out as more likely for success, Marco Pinotti's strong 2008 season means that he should be considered as a dark horse for the elite time trial on Thursday.
The 32-year-old took his third Italian championship earlier this season and also won the final stage of the Giro d'Italia, a 28.5-kilometre race against the clock. His strong performances in other races – including overall victory in the Tour of Ireland, third in the Tour of Romandie, ninth overall in the Tour of Denmark, fourteenth in the Tour of Missouri and fifteenth in the Tour du Pays Basques [as well as high stage placings in many races] show his season-long consistency. These results and his increased confidence suggest that he will improve considerably on the 17th, 20th and 14th places he achieved in the last three editions of the Worlds.
The race being held in Italy will also ensure much greater fan support, even if he said that he would be determined to do well regardless where the race will be held. "I am always motivated when I wear the national jersey," the friendly Team Columbia rider stated. "This year, there will be more eyes on me, but this is a motivation. I don't get crazy about it, though - I always do my best. I don't really need this kind of incentive to perform."
Pinotti subscribes to the view that aiming for a perfect individual performance on the day rather than opening targeting a specific place is the way to go. "My goal is to ride at my best. Because it is a world championship, the competition is perhaps even higher than the Olympics because there are more elite people doing the time trial. So the competition is a little bit higher and everybody is hoping for a top five or a top 10.
"But the differences will be very close. If you don't count Cancellara [now not riding – ed.] or Zabriskie, who should be the favourites, all the others can achieve a podium place. Like Clement last year. The medal would be a dream come true. But my aim is to do my best, and the results I would then say depend on the others."
Read the full feature ahead of the time trial.