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Marco Pinotti (Columbia)
Individual and team time trials in opening stages suit Italian champion
Marco Pinotti (Columbia-HTC) dreams of taking the leader's pink jersey of the Giro d'Italia for a second time in his career. The Italian time trial champion believes it is possible based on the 2010 route that he saw presented Saturday in Milan.
"With the prologue and the team time trial close together there is a possibility to take the pink jersey. It doesn't cost anything to dream of it," said Pinotti.
Pinotti finished second on the Spoleto stage in 2007 and took the leader's pink jersey. He kept it for four stages. The following year, he won the race's final stage, a 28.5-kilometre time trial in Milan.
The 2010 route has two time trials within the first four stages: an opening 8.4-kilometre time trial Saturday and a 32.5-kilometre team time trial Wednesday. Any advantage Pinotti has after the first day he can use to defend or help him win the pink jersey.
His team won the team time trial this year in Venice and put sprinter Mark Cavendish in the pink jersey for two days.
Pinotti also believes in his chances to conserve energy over the mountain stages and win the final day's time trial in Verona. He said next year's route, with many mountain stages in the third week, is similar to the 2008 route and the final time trial that followed. However, he said the organiser may have overdone it for 2010.
"They put all the hard climbs in one year, in the same edition," said Pinotti. "It will be a Giro suited to a lightweight climber."
The race covers the Zoncolan, Plan de Corones, Mortirolo and Gavia climbs in the final week. The final 15.3-kilometre time trial stage covers the Torricelle climb and finishes inside of Verona's outdoor Roman amphitheatre.
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