Marco Pinotti is widely respected in the peloton as being a clean and fair cyclist, and when he found himself in the leader's jersey of his home tour earlier this year he received accolades from afar. Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews sat down with the Italian to catch up during the recent World Championships to discuss his maturation in the cycling world and his 2008 plans.
Marco Pinotti waved the flag of Team T-Mobile's anti-doping stance high when he took the maglia rosa of overall leader during this year's Giro d'Italia. The Germany-based team had completely reorganized its structure over the previous winter, dropping a lot of riders from its ranks and adding in riders it believed were role-models for its new stance, like the 31 year-old from Bergamo.
While finishing his degree in Management Engineering at the University of Bergamo, l'ingegner Pinotti started his cycling career as a stagiaire with Team Polti in 1998. Classmate and friend Matteo Algeri, currently a directeur sportif with Saunier Duval, encouraged his continuation, and in 1999 he started his first of six years with Italian Team Lampre.
"It has been a maturation and personal development process," stated Pinotti to Cyclingnews at the bar of the Relaxa Hotel in Stuttgart. A light drizzle came down outside as he fondly reflected back over his years at Lampre (1999-2004), Saunier Duval (2005-2006) and T-Mobile.
"When I turned pro it was with Lampre, which is an Italian team, close to where I live. They had a technical director that was good in developing young riders. I was lucky to find a good environment to develop as a rider, even if I did not have good luck with injuries," he continued.
He had two major setbacks while riding in the blue and pink colours of Lampre. "I was not lucky with the operation in my left arm, I was out almost a year and a half. I crashed in the fall of 2000, I raced in 2001, but then the problem came back again at the end of 2001. So then I lost time again in 2002. In 2003 I started again, but I broke my pelvis and I lost half my season. For two years, 2002 and 2003, I only did a few races. 2004 I finally had a full season."
To read the full interview with Marco Pinotti, click here.