Pinotti aiming for pink in Giro opener
Marco Pinotti wins Tour de Romandie 2010 prologue
Marco Pinotti is aiming for the Giro d'Italia's pink jersey today in Amsterdam. The Italian of team HTC-Columbia starts the 8.4-kilometre time trial as a favourite, only two weeks after his win at the Tour of Romandy's prologue.
"After the Romandie time trial, a lot of people are expecting something from me," he told Cycling Weekly. "It was a true surprise for me and I want to race the time trial with the same sort of spirit: trying to do well, but not carrying the pressure of a favourite.
"There is a higher level of participants here. The favourites are [Bradley] Wiggins, [David] Millar and [Alexandre] Vinokourov."
The time trial starts the 93rd Giro d'Italia and three days of racing around Amsterdam. The course today travels through the heart of the city, starting in the Museumplein, running along the Amstel Canal and finishing outside of the 1928 Olympic stadium.
Tram crossings, weather and numerous corners are the principle difficulties for Pinotti and his rivals.
"Romandie was half the distance [4.3km]. It's not so much the distance, though, but the course's characteristics. I normally go better on the longer time trials, longer than the shorter time trials that suit the sprinters.
"You also have to consider the weather, there are almost three hours between the first and the last riders. Maybe the first hours will be dry and the last hour wet, as it was for Wiggins when he lost by one second in Rome last year."
Pinotti took the pink jersey for the first time in 2007. He escaped in stage six to Spoleto and held the jersey for the next four stages. His Giro d'Italia success continued in 2008, when he won the final day's time trial in Milan.
If he fails to take the win and the pink jersey today, the dream will continue towards the team time trial. On the first day back in Italy, May 12, the teams face a 33-kilometre stage.
"I will have to come out of the two Dutch stages well. They are not simple and I have to limit the damages.
"We have a good team for the team time trial, but there are also Sky and Garmin. Wiggins and Millar will be aiming for the same pink jersey, it will be a difficult fight."
2010 Giro d'Italia coverage in association with Zipvit