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By Gregor Brown Italian Marco Pinotti may be in California for Team High Road's training camp, but...
By Gregor Brown
Italian Marco Pinotti may be in California for Team High Road's training camp, but the rider's dreaming of competing in his home tour, the Giro d'Italia, this May. The 31 year-old wore the Giro's race leader jersey, the maglia rosa, for four days in 2007, and so he was surprised when the Bob Stapleton-owned team was left out of the 2008 selection.
Hearing the news that Team High Road, formerly T-Mobile, had been left off organiser RCS Sport's list of 21 invited teams left the rider a little annoyed, but after some reflection and reading an interview with RCS Sport Events Director Angelo Zomegnan by Corriere della Sera Pinotti has settled down.
"The words were good, but they would be better spent on the whole team," said Pinotti to Cyclingnews. The rider is in Pismo Beach, California, preparing for the upcoming season with his ProTour-ranked team. Over the winter the team went through some drastic changes – reinforcing its strong stance against doping – after T-Mobile withdrew its sponsorship.
After learning that the squad wasn't included in this year's Giro Pinotti didn't have time to contact Zomegnan personally, as he was preparing for his trip across the Atlantic Ocean. "I read later the nice words he said about me in the Corriere della Sera, saying that if he could, he would have let me race as an independent," Pinotti continued.
"It explained that maybe they [RCS Sport] do not really understand how well High Road is working, and there's no reason to leave us out the Giro," added Pinotti. "I am in this team because I believe in its policy and commitment."
Pinotti understands that RCS Sport was free to choose the teams of its choice for the Corsa Rosa, backed by the International Cycling Union (UCI) after its meeting with the country's national federation in Treviso, Italy. The UCI and representatives of the national federations came to a 'special calendar' agreement where only the Tour de France was obliged to invite all 18 ProTour teams, leaving the other races, like the Giro, free to choose from ProTour and Professional Continental teams.
Pinotti's preparations are progressing well in California, despite the fact the Italian rider – along with team-mates Kanstantsin Siutsou and Morris Possoni – is still waiting on the airline delivering their bikes.