By Dirk Friel – TrainingPeaks.com
On Sunday, two-time Italian national time trial champion Marco Pinotti proved yet again that he is one of the world’s best in that specialty, particularly when it comes to the grand tours.
Pinotti , along with his Team High Road teammates Tony Martin and Bradley Wiggins, also showed that Team High Road is fielding a great deal of depth when it comes to the race against the clock. This was the second stage in this year’s Giro where team High Road scored a 1-2 punch and almost made it a clean sweep with Wiggins placing fourth, just 13 seconds behind Pinotti.
Throughout the 2008 season Pinotti has shown his potential by placing third overall in the Tour of Romandie, and he was also part of a decisive break away in the Fleche Wallone (see Pinotti’s Fleche Wallone file here), which helped pave the way for his teammate, Kim Kirchen, to win that classic.
Prior to the Giro, Pinotti was aiming to shine within the Giro’s overall classification especially after having held the maglia rosa for five days in 2007. However, Pinotti’s 2008 Giro didn’t go as well as originally planned and along with his coach, Massimo (Max) Testa, Pinotti re-evaluated this year’s goals after a rough start in the Dolomites.
“I was confident since the start, but as Max can tell you, I have not been feeling well since the first stage in the Dolomites. I could not hold the pace of the top riders and so I decided with Max to go on ‘saving mode’ within the rest of the stages looking only towards the time trial.”
It looks like Pinotti and Testa made the right decision, given Pinotti placed fourth in the first individual time trial, 36 seconds behind winner Marzio Bruseghin. Unlike the first time trial, Pinotti decided to race the final Giro stage with his SRM power meter on his time trial bike to collect data on what may have been the best race of his career.
To view Pinotti’s winning SRM file from the final 28.5km time trial click here.
Cadence and pacing are the name of the game
Notice a few key elements of Pinotti’s file which may help you within your next time trial.
First, take note of Pinotti’s remarkable ability to maintain a high cadence. Pinotti averaged almost exactly 100rpm over the entirety of the 32-minute event. That is quite difficult for most cyclists. The chart shows how Pinotti spun between 90-100rpm for 51 percent of the race, or 16 minutes, and he was between 100-120rpm for 42 percent of the race.
A second key to Pinotti’s success was his pacing strategy for the race. Even though, Pinotti had his SRM power meter on his bike he said he never looked at it during the race. However, he did have a clear pacing strategy in mind and even held himself back a bit.
“My strategy was to go as steady and constant as possible, pacing well from the very beginning until the end,” he said. “I tried to avoid (maximum) accelerations.”
In fact, Pinotti did exactly that. Tipping the scales at 149 pounds, Pinotti can easily max out at near 1000 watts, yet his maximum output hit only 783 watts (recorded within the final kilometer). By reducing the number of maximum accelerations, Pinotti was able to keep his lactate levels under control and continue to produce a high power output for the entire time.
Pinotti’s overall power average was 374 watts and by analyzing his data we can see just how well his pacing strategy paid off. By looking at this first half average we can see he maintained 378 watts, compared to 370 watts for the second half. The higher output over the first half may also be due to the course being relatively straight with few turns until the final few kilometers of the race.
For more on Marco Pinotti, and other professional’s training and race files please see:
Tracking Power: Reviewing Fleche Wallonne with Marco Pinotti
The Team High Road Blog on Training Peaks
Dirk Friel raced professionally on the roads of Europe, Asia and the Americas and is a co-founder of TrainingPeaks.com. He may be reached by e-mail at Dirk@Peaksware.com.