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Coach Dirk Friel examines the power recording from Marco Pinotti’s race-winning solo attack on Sunday.

On Sunday, three-time Italian time trial champion Marco Pinotti won the Tour of Ireland with a solo attack in the last 10k of the stage. The textbook attack was setup by his Columbia teammate Michael Barry, who was caught leading into the final circuit in Cork.

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By Dirk Friel

The final 10k power file from Pinotti's win Sunday at the Tour of Ireland.

The final 10k power file from Pinotti’s win Sunday at the Tour of Ireland.

Photo: courtesy Dirk Friel

On Sunday, three-time Italian time trial champion Marco Pinotti won the Tour of Ireland with a solo attack in the last 10k of the stage. The textbook attack was setup by his Columbia teammate Michael Barry, who was caught leading into the final circuit in Cork.

Pinotti and Barry each started the final day only 18 seconds behind Great Britain’s Russel Downing (Pinarello). The final stage between Killarney and Cork finished with four laps of a difficult circuit which featured the famous St. Patrick’s Hill. You can see Pinotti’s SRM power file at TrainingPeaks.

The file reveals how he averaged 390w (417 normalized power) for the final 10k (14 minutes). This final solo effort allowed him to stay away from race leader Downing and take the overall win by just 19 seconds.

Next Stop: Missouri

Next up for Pinotti is the Tour of Missouri, where he will again be aiming to win a time trial and place Columbia in a position to win. We sat down with him this week to talk about the rest of the season.

VeloNews: Congratulations on your overall victory at the Tour of Ireland. Did you know you had good form coming into the race?

Marco Pinotti: I had an altitude camp right after Tour of Denmark, then I resumed racing in Italy and I knew it would take some time to peak, and that it was going to happen last week. With my trainer, we realized that my form was arriving. I felt better as the days passed after an initial period of fatigue. Now with proper rest I can keep this level for a long time I hope.

VN: You mentioned that the final day’s stage in Ireland didn’t suit you. Can you explain?

MP: The climb was too short in my opinion and suited more explosive riders, but I raced steady and made my moves at the top of each climb.

VN: Michael Barry and yourself entered the final stage only 18 seconds out of the overall lead. Did you think about taking the race lead before the start?

MP: In the morning Barry and I agreed we had nothing to lose and we had to try everything in the final circuit. Once we were there we realized it was a really hard and nervous route so we had to play our cards smart and he did a perfect move that helped me to save and follow the others until he was unluckily caught.

VN: How did you race the final? Did you know your time gap to your main rivals as you were away in a solo breakaway?

MP: Since I was racing with a power meter, once I attacked I tried to build a maximum gap, then when I knew I had about 30 seconds I rode constantly above 400 watts without burning because I knew it was going to be a 14-15 minute long effort. Only on the hills did I reach between 500-550 watts.

VN: Have you been pleased with your season and what was your favorite race within 2008 so far?

MP: Yes I am. I have finally won a stage in a Giro d’Italia that I deserved since a long time ago and did it in a TT, which is my favorite skill. And then I confirmed the result in the national championship TT, and did well in the hilly TT of Urbino (fourth overall). The only bad point is that I wasn’t selected for the Olympic games. I thought I deserved the place. I was told the course was too hard for me and I did not have the chance to verify that.

VN: You have won both the Italian national time trial and the Giro’s final time trial, so it is fitting that you have been selected to represent Italy at the worlds. Have you ridden the world’s course yet?

MP: I haven’t seen the course yet, as with open traffic it would be almost a waste of time. I will be able to see it a couple of days before the race. Looking at the profile it looks like it suits me and with the length and the fact that it is late in the season, what you need is basically good form and commitment.

VN: You are obviously a time trial specialist. Have you spent much time in a wind tunnel analyzing your position and equipment?

MP: Last February the team sent some guys from Columbia to be tested in San Diego low speed wind tunnel. For me it was an unforgettable experience. I did not gain that much time, but just developed a more comfortable position that helps me to develop more power without gaining any aero drag. The guys from the wind tunnel told me that I had already a natural talent to fit into an aerodynamic position. That is good because I don’t have any more doubts or question if I am good or not. I am.

VN: What would be some advice you could express to other riders who are trying to improve their time trialing? Do you have any secrets you can share?

MP: Repetitions is the mother of success. So the more you time trial the better you are. Learning how to warm up and how to pace are the fundamentals. Starting calm and then feeling like going at 95 percent, 100 percent will come by itself just keeping the pace. The best TT I did was when I was slightly better or at least the same in the second half of the race.

VN: What will be your responsibility for Team Columbia in next week’s Tour of Missouri?

MP: We still have to do the meeting, but definitely I would like to test myself on the TT in stage three, then for the overall it depends on the TT results or a breakaway.

VN: Have you raced in the Tour of Missouri, or in North America before?

MP: This is my first time in Missouri. I did Georgia in 2005 and 2006 and California in ’06 and a training camp with the team in San Luis Obispo in 2008. North America is definitely one of the best places to ride.