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Marco Pinotti takes readers on a ride through pro cycling with ‘The Cycling Professor’

  • By Gregor Brown
  • Published Dec. 22, 2012
Marco Pinotti describes the world of pro cycling in "The Cycling Professor."

MILAN (VN) — Marco Pinotti lacks the sprint wins of Mark Cavendish or the exclusive insider knowledge of Tyler Hamilton, but he has his own story. After 14 years of racing, helping and, yes, winning, he tells about his profession in a new book released Thursday: “The Cycling Professor.”

“I wanted to answer the questions and the curiosities about my trade,” Pinotti told VeloNews while looking over the final edits.

“In Italy, for example, people only seem to know about the Giro d’Italia. Or in France, maybe they don’t follow anything else but the Tour. I’m opening their eyes to the races, to the training camps, to the technology that goes into cycling, diet. … Everything.”

The Italian version, “Il Mestiere del Ciclista,” hit the shelves and online shops September 20. Pinotti polished off the English electronic version over the last week for its release Thursday (it’s available on Amazon).

It is Pinotti’s story and his lessons in his words, from Lampre to his current team BMC Racing and all points in between. You can almost hear his Bergamasco accent as he describes winning stages and wearing the pink jersey in the Giro d’Italia, or receiving a bike from Cavendish for helping him do likewise.

“For helping him win his first grand-tour stage in 2008 he gave me this beautifully styled Montante bike from Sicily,” Pinotti explained. “He’d received it as a gift, we had it in the truck. I won the time trial on the last day and was the last rider to leave the race so I took the bike home for him. Later, he called me and said he wanted to gift me something for helping him win. I told him,’You don’t have to, but if you don’t mind, you can just let me have the bike.’”

Pinotti raced alongside Cavendish in his years with Bob Stapleton’s Highroad team, a team that rose from the ashes of T-Mobile, in the wake of the Operación Puerto doping scandal. He dedicates a chapter to clean cycling in his book.

“With all the scandals cycling’s had, I couldn’t just avoid the subject,” he said. “I tried to put it in a positive light, the good that’s coming from the anti-doping measures.”

The Italian writes a regular column for the Eco di Bergamo newspaper in the country’s north. The newspaper’s editors persuaded him to tell his story, in his own words. All 240 pages are written by him and not by a ghostwriter.

“It’s been harder to write a book,” he said, comparing it to a three-week tour. “It’s time-consuming. If you only have to write a book, okay, but trying to be a professional cyclist at the same time. … In fact, it’s taken me two years to do it!

“While writing it, I thought about all the changes cycling went through, all the changes I went through. I traveled the world, learned better training methods and about training tools. I thought, had I known all the stuff then that I know now maybe I could’ve accomplished more in my career.”

VeloNews obtained an exclusive advance copy. The following is an extract about three-week races.

Going home

Going home from a three-week stage race — after pedaling over 3,000 kilometers, more than 40,000 meters of gained altitude, about 65,000 calories consumed in nearly a hundred hours spent on the saddle and almost 300 bottles taken from the car to teammates in the group — is a little like getting back from a trip to a foreign land where you’ve not heard anything about home. No television except to know the weather forecasts, an essential luxury; newspapers just to read news about the race. … Few words are exchanged during the massage, while at breakfast and dinner the focus is almost always on the race. During the race, but also outside of it, the focus is directed to your body, how much, when and most importantly, what to eat and drink at any time to make sure you recover and have energy; keeping warm to stave off colds or taking layers off to sweat less; all the time thinking if the position in the group is the right one at that juncture of the race. … The world could fall apart when you ride the Giro and you wouldn’t notice it.

 

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown

Bikes kept Gregor Brown out of trouble growing up in Oklahoma — BMX, freestyle and then watching Greg LeMond's Tour de France wins on CBS television's weekend highlights shows. The drama of the 1998 Tour, however, truly drew him into the fold. With a growing curiosity in European races and lifestyle, he followed his heart and established camp on Lake Como's shores in 2004. Brown has been following the Giro, the Tour and every major race in Europe since 2006. He will tell you it is about the "race within the race" – punching out the news and running to finish – but he loves a proper dinner, un piatto tipico ed un vino della zona.

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