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BMC Racing is aiming for the Giro d’Italia’s time trials next month with Taylor Phinney and its leader, Marco Pinotti.
“Marco Pinotti is going to be the captain in the Giro. His goal is to get a top-10 in the GC,” BMC’s general manager, Jim Ochowicz told VeloNews.
“We expect a good start in the prologue, in the Danish stages and down to the team time trial in Verona. We won the team time trial in Trentino, so that’s a good sign that we are doing the right things and that we are going to be a contender in that first week or 10 days of the Giro.”
The Giro d’Italia starts in Herning, Denmark, with an individual time trial, features a team version in the fourth leg and ends in Milan on May 27 with another individual test.
The TT stages:
Stage 1: Herning, 8.7km
Stage 4: Verona, 33.2km (TTT)
Stage 21: Milan, 30.1km
Phinney won the Eneco Tour prologue last year and held the leader’s jersey for three days. The 21-year-old also took the lead after BMC won the opening TTT in the Giro del Trentino last week. Geraint Thomas (Sky) won Tour de Romandie’s 3.3km time trial on Tuesday and may provide the biggest challenge.
“Taylor is now in his second year and entering his second grand tour, he’s getting a feel for these races,” Ochowicz explained. “This will be a good challenge for him. He really wants to finish well in the Giro’s time trial and do a good prologue, everything in-between is going to be survival and days of opportunities.”
Ochowicz said 36-year-old Pinotti is the “perfect guy” to help Phinney survive in Italy. “He has a lot of experience so he doesn’t overreact,” said Ochowicz.
And, having Phinney and the other seven riders working to keep Pinotti in the top-10 will “keep them motivated in the three weeks.”
Last year, Pinotti helped HTC-Highroad win the opening time trial in Turin and held the leader’s jersey for one day. He told VeloNews that whomever wins the pink jersey in the prologue or team time trial has an added bonus.
“The team time trial may only be 32K, but it’s fundamental for the following week,” Pinotti said. “Who wins it will carry the maglia rosa for some days, up until the weekend. Of course, it also means the responsibility will fall on that team’s shoulders.”
BMC Racing is used to the responsibility. Last July, it shepherded Cadel Evans around France for three weeks and won the Tour. The squad protected the Aussie, albeit without the maillot jaune on his shoulders, through a dodgy opening week and terse affairs in the Alps. The Giro is a different beast, but that test showed BMC brass that the team is capable of controlling a grand tour.
“Really, once we get to Italy and the team time trial is over, it will be more of an individual show, looking for breaks and giving the riders a lot of freedom,” Ochowicz said.
“Everyone has good experience. It will be a lot like what we did at the Tour last year, just racing day-to-day and not thinking about Milan when you are in Denmark.”