By Shane Stokes
New T-Mobile signing Marco Pinotti has expressed his satisfaction with the management and setup there, saying that he believes it is the way forward for cycling.
"I'm very happy with this team," he told Cyclingnews at the recent training camp in Mallorca. "I like the fact that the management does not come from traditional cycling. They do not have the closed point of view of the sport, but are rather open-minded. I think they give us the same open-minded view. I like this. It is a new structure and you can see it, you can feel it."
Pinotti was referring to the strong anti-doping ethos of the team. Following Jan Ullrich's exclusion from the Tour de France there were question marks over the continued sponsorship of the squad, but T-Mobile finally decided to remain involved when it became clear that the team would introduce serious anti-doping measures. These include a new blood volume test which can pick up on previously undetectable autologous blood transfusions, as well as strong deterrents built into riders' contracts. For example, if a rider is found to be doping, he [or she] is required to refund the salary paid by the team.
When asked if he thought that it is important that cycling teams are run in this way after the events of 2006, he agreed. "Yes, of course. We [T-Mobile] should be...we are, I think, the leader of the change in cycling and we should help to rebuild the trust of the people in cycling because that is the most important thing. They should have somebody they can trust and we want to be that team. We want that people trust us."
He said that this new policy also helps improve the mood within the team. "It makes a big difference, because you trust your teammate and you trust the manager and the director. You know clearly that everybody has the same view of this kind of thing.
"You know that we are all in the same boat and we will follow the same path. Because of that, there is more trustful relationship between the riders and the directors."
Pinotti said that his big goal for the season is a strong ride in the Tour of Italy. "The goal is to arrive at the Giro with my best fitness level and to use this level, this form, to win a stage if it is possible. I also want to ride every race in the front, because I feel more responsibility this year with his jersey. I don't want to go to race just to do my job, but rather to do my job really well. I want to be an example for the others."
He will begin his season with the Etoile de Bessèges and then the Ruta del Sol.