Italian Marco Pinotti has entered the second half of his season and said yesterday that he will be ready in two weeks to defend his 2008 Tour of Ireland win.
"I have returned well after my break," Pinotti told Cyclingnews. "I almost won a stage in the Sachsen-Tour and took a top ten result in San Sebastián on Saturday."
Pinotti ended the first half of his season in June with his fourth Italian Championships time trial win. He had just finished the three-week Giro d'Italia, where he helped his Columbia team win five stages.
Pinotti finished 10th behind winner Carlos Barredo in Saturday's rain-soaked San Sebastián in Spain. He is back in Italy and preparing for Ireland with 10-days at high-altitude in Livigno.
"I did this same altitude training after the Tour de France last year. This year I did not race the Tour, but I hope the training leaves me well for Ireland.
"The Tour of Ireland will be different this year because it is only three days. There is still that last day to Cork, however, that will change the classification."
Pinotti was 15th overall in the classification prior to the final stage last year. He rode clear from the other classification favourites in the final 10 kilometres to gain enough time and win the overall by 19 seconds.
The high-altitude training and Tour of Ireland should leave Pinotti in good form for the season finale. He wants to win the time trial World Championships on September 24 in Mendrisio, Switzerland. His final race prior to the championships will be the Tour of Missouri, in the United States.
"I went well in the time trial in Missouri last year and I think I can go for the classification this year if I have another good time trial."
Pinotti finished 38th, after a flat tyre, in the time trial and 14th overall last year. He achieved his highest career placing, 13th, at the World Championships 11 days later.