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Italian time trial champion Marco Pinotti (HTC - Columbia) in action on the Plan de Corones.
HTC-Columbia captain raises his profile at 34
As the organisation of the Giro d’Italia put clean cycling as their priority for this year, Marco Pinotti’s top ten finish overall is a sign that at least some expectations have been met. The Italian from HTC-Columbia was full of praise for Johann Tschopp. The Swiss climber who won stage 20 including the Gavia is like him a cyclist who works on a daily basis for the ecology and a doping-free sport.
“When he broke away from our group with Gilberto Simoni on the Gavia, I thought he had a good chance of winning the stage,” said Pinotti who looked exhausted when he crossed the line on the Passo del Tonale.
“I’m happy with my Giro,” he told Cyclingnews after a good night of sleep and prior to the closing time trial in Verona after which he might move from tenth to ninth overall. “To finish in the top 10 of such a difficult Giro is a satisfaction. I haven’t done any altitude training before the race. I came to the Giro after racing a lot but not with the specific preparation for the mountains. In the climbs where more than thirty minutes of effort were necessary, I’ve suffered.”
Pinotti also realised that former Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre struggled even more than him on the Gavia. Sastre is – with David Arroyo and Richie Porte – one of the three riders who are higher than him on GC but took advantage of the twelve minutes lead of the maxi-breakaway of stage 11 to L’Aquila.
“We’ve experienced some very difficult conditions during these three weeks of racing,” Pinotti said. “It has made me proud to be part of it. It’s been a nice Giro from the public’s perspective. The well designed course made the race really interesting.”
After finishing eighth overall in the Tour of Romandie, Pinotti had told Cyclingnews four weeks ago that he might have a go for the first time at the GC in the Giro d’Italia but he wanted to wait for stage 8 up the Terminillo to figure out if this was still a realistic goal to pursue or not. “I’ve always wanted to ride for GC,” said the engineer from Bergamo who wore the pink jersey during the 2007 Giro d’Italia. “In the past, I always had to work for somebody. This time I had an occasion to see how far I could go personally.”