Marco Pinotti (BMC Racing Team) was back in action at the Giro del Trentino after recovering from an early season crash at the Tour Méditerranéen. He is continuing to work on his form at this week's Tour de Romandie and will also tackle the Amgen Tour of California before riding the Tour de France in July.
The likeable Italian spent the winter recovering from a crash in the world time trial championships that left him with a broken collarbone. He then crashed in his first race of the season, suffering a further collarbone fracture and two cracked ribs. Pinotti has suffered a series of injuries over the years but has always made a successful comeback thanks to hard work and dedication.
"It was hard coming back this time. I'd already worked hard to comeback from my crash at the worlds and then I fractured my collarbone again. It gets harder every time. Fortunately I'm still here," he told Cyclingnews.
Pinotti had changed his racing programme for 2013, with the Italian on the long list for the Tour de France rather than riding the Giro d'Italia. His injuries have ensured he will definitely not ride the Giro d'Italia, with Cadel Evans now team leader, allowing Pinotti to return to the Amgen Tour of California. He last rode the North American stage race in 2006. He last rode the Tour de France back in 2002
"I won’t ride the Giro this year. That was the original plan at the start of the year and it's the right option now because I haven't got the base training to tackle the Giro," Pinotti said.
"I hope to gradually get back better and be good for the Tour. I'm on the long list for the team, with the final riders decide nearer the race, considering everyone's form."
"I'm happy to go back to California. I've looked at the route and Tejay [van Garderen] wants to do well. I hope to help him as much as I can. I know I'll miss the Giro when it starts but I'll enjoy watching it on television."
Future role as Italian time trial coach?
Pinotti is now 37 and the 2103 season may be his last. He has a business degree in Engineering Management but is keen to stay in the sport, passing on his skill and knowledge about training and specifically about time trials to riders on the Italian national team.
"Let me finish this season and then I'll make a carefully considered decision about my future," he said.
"I'd like to do my bit to help the Italian team, especially for the time trials. We need to develop the young riders more and develop the base of Italian cycling. Unfortunately money is tight and there is a lot of work to do."
Wiggins the favourite for the Giro d'Italia
Pinotti has worn the race leader's pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia several times and knows the race better than most. He carefully observed both Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at the Giro del Trentino. Nibali won the race but Pinotti still named Wiggins as his favourite for victory this year.
"I'm sure it'll be a good race yet again. Trentino gave some indications of their form but we'll see what happens during the three weeks of hard racing," he said.
"I think they'll both do well but I think Wiggins is the favourite to win. He's won the Tour de France and even if the Giro route doesn't suit him as much as the Tour route did, he's proved he can race and win anywhere. It'll be a good fight for the pink jersey."