By Jean-François Quénet
Bergamo is a true cycling town, always recalled as the home of the great Felice Gimondi who hails from the neighborhood in Sedrina. Two recent winners of the Giro are also from this area: Ivan Gotti, who described all the details of the route on Italian television during the live coverage, and Paolo Savoldelli, who tried his best for a stage win on home soil.
But the most popular of all the Bergamo riders was probably Marco Pinotti. The engineer who joined T-Mobile held the pink jersey for four days and has really enchanted the people. Still in the top 20 on GC, Pinotti knew that there would be a crowd of supporters waiting for him at the finish of Stage 14. Local fans read his daily column in L'Eco Di Bergamo, where he explained the difficulty of the transfers between two stages in today's edition; his vehicle spent three hours on highway A4 the day before. "The organization of the Giro said there are only one third of last year's transfers but I'll have to tell Angelo Zomegnan that transfers should be counted in hours on the road, not in kilometres," Pinotti wrote.
Besides being a fan favorite, Pinotti was instrumental in Saturday's racing. "I was lucky to enter the breakaway today," he said as he was mobbed by fans at the finish. "We were 12 away on the San Marco and I thought it was good for playing the stage win but my directeur sportif told me there was a hard battle starting behind us between the big-named riders. When they caught us, the rhythm was extremely high."
Pinotti crossed the line in 19th position, just one minute after Stefano Garzelli which means the T-Mobile rider is in good position to be aggressive at the final time trial from Bardolino to Verona next weekend.