Pinotti predicts an intense Tour de France and the royal battle Ineos-Jumbo


Former pro Marco Pinotti expects the 2020 Tour de France to be a royal battle between the Ineos team and Jumbo-Visma, with few surprises but many high intensity races among the big name favorites due runners who start from the Tour with new legs and at a higher peak. He thinks Chris Froome has benefited the most from the race delays caused by the COVID-19 blockages, but predicts that the British driver will not return as a candidate for the Tour de France until 2021.Pinotti is now the Chief Performance Officer of the CCC team, managing the fitness and physical fitness of all runners, as well as his coaching staff and fellow managers. He is also a former runner who has excelled in making the most of his talent in time trials, while winning other races and finishing ninth in the Giro d’Italia 2010. He understands the science of physiology and the psychology necessary to train hard and perform at WorldTour level.

“The Tour de France contenders have a lot of time to prepare and therefore I think we will see a great race. I honestly don’t think the lack of forward racing means we see a more unpredictable race, but it will be intense and at an extremely high level, “predicts Pinotti speaking to Cyclingnews.

“Nowadays, you can train almost perfectly for a Grand Tour instead of running, and the Tour de France in September helps with this process.

“Indeed, after being away from the race for so long, everyone will be fresh, motivated and in good shape. They will jump out of their skin. It would be a huge mistake if they weren’t. No one will be tired from running or wearing injuries, and their muscles will be fresh. Someone can explode, but it will be in the first week because they adapt to the race day after day. But if someone is good in the first week and can make a big effort in the first week, they will be able to recover and will have almost the same ability to attack in the last week. ”

Pinotti laughs long and hard when Cyclingnews paraphrase a former British footballer turned expert who suggested: “The Tour de France is a simple race: 22 teams run for three weeks and in the end the Ineos team always wins. ”

“Honestly, I don’t expect a lot of surprises. It’s a Tour for climbers so if Egan Bernal starts to ride it will be difficult to stop it… ”predicts Pinotti.

“But I expect the fight for the yellow jersey to be a fight between the Ineos team and Jumbo-Visma. We all know the strength of Ineos, along with Bernal, Geraint Thomas and Froome, but Jumbo-Visma comes quickly. Primoz Roglic started strong last year, overlapping and winning many races, but this year he will be more focused, while Tom Dumoulin may be back at his best. It will be fascinating to watch. ”

Asked about Froome’s chances in the Tour de France 2020, Pinotti talks about his personal experience recovering from a major injury and setback. It is not in the debate as to whether Froome should change teams mid-season to ensure clear team leadership, preferring to give a sincere answer based on personal observation.

“I saw Chris on the UAE Tour, and he was really happy to be back on track. He seemed a bit taken aback on the bike, but I’m sure he’s worked on it since. Would he be back at his best? “I really hope it is, but I’m not sure, I have doubts …” said Pinotti carefully.

“Of course, locking the COVID-19 helped him. That gave him two more months and he worked hard in the gym and on the rollers. But I think it will take him even longer to get back to his best level. I think he could be 100% back for the Tour de France 2021 rather than this year’s race. ”

August is the new step in professional cycling training

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Greg Van Avermaet of the CCC team won the Virtual Tour of Flanders during the lockout (Image credit: Team CCC)

Pinotti hopes that Ilnur Zakarin of the CCC team can also be a competitor, while Greg Van Avermaet and Matteo Trentin will aim for stage victories, then the October classics. Pinotti and his team have followed and organized their training, balancing quantity and quality, mental freshness and fatigue, and juggling the benefits and complications of an altitude training block.

Based in Orio Sotto, south of Bergamo, one of the regions most affected in Italy by the COVID-19 virus, Pinotti drew on the ethical and hardworking character of the Bergamaschi people to continue during the pandemic. He spent the lockdown sharing his time between his young family and his riders. Instead of being absent from races or training camps, he devoted extra time to his young children and trained his riders virtually and digitally.

“There seem to be two different types of cyclists. There are those who have suffered more psychologically from the COVID-19 coronavirus and who have died for at least a month, and who may have trouble understanding everything and starting over. The others, probably those from France, Italy and Spain, who could not climb outside, are probably better off. They continued to train indoors and had some concentration. I told my riders in this situation to get rid of the quantity work and to focus on maintaining a certain intensity and a high-end form. ”

The lock and revised schedule have changed the season. August is the new month of March for the cycling season, with key months for training and preparation in April, May and June.

“We are entering European summer, but for the runners, it is January of the new season. They experienced a kind of second winter during the lockout. The runners are physically and mentally cooler for sure. If they continue to do what they have done, they will be fitter and stronger when the race begins in earnest in August, “he predicts.

“They did a lot of home gym and basic work in March and April, and before they even had a clear, confirmed schedule, it was important to start increasing the workload when everyone could train outside so that, even if we don’t race, runners will not miss a full fitness season, which would create a career hole and slow them down in 2021. ”

Runners were encouraged to try Everesting or take long trips near their homes to develop basic fitness in the spring.

“The idea was to build their basic physical condition by doing something different – something more adventurous. That’s why a runner like Alessandro De Marchi went for nine-hour walks in his local mountains and others did long gravel walks, “said Pinotti.

“In November or December, this is not possible in Europe due to the lack of light and the colder weather. The weather was much better in May after the lockout, so it was good for the runners to do some adventures and ride in the high mountains for nine hours, maybe once a week. They did the work but remained mentally fresh. ”

Balance training before the start of the non-stop race

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Ilnur Zakarin is the racer of the CCC of the Tour de France GC (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

The extra months of no race have helped Pinotti better control the training process, but there will be a price to pay when the race begins in late July. It will be virtually non-stop, making June and July months of vital work for each pilot.

“When the race starts, there won’t be much time for quality training. There will be time to rest but not much time to catch up. If you start off on the wrong foot, there is little time or space to get over it. »«, Warns Pinotti.

“In a normal season, runners work and run to create a gradual increase in form. Races are shorter in February, and not that important. This summer, Milan-San Remo is August 8, Il Lombardia a week later and the Critérium du Dauphiné is at the same time. We dive directly into the heart of the season. ”

This makes training in June and July very important.

“For the riders who make the Tour, the revised season has a simple logic: they must be in good shape in September, then after they have the World Championships and the Classics or the Vuelta.

“Those who target the Giro may do things differently, but it will be more complex. They can target Milan-Sanremo and Il Lombardia, train at altitude, then run Tirreno-Adriatico before the Giro. For everyone else, it is a conundrum, and they can only focus on quality training and try to run whenever they can. ”

“Working at altitude has its advantages, but it is probably only necessary for Grand Tour competitors. They have the advantages of altitude in August and September, but will also have to do intensity. It’s easy to train at altitude and do too much, so you train and don’t crest as you should to adapt to altitude training.

“Working at altitude has its advantages, but it is probably only necessary for Grand Tour competitors. They have the advantages of altitude in August and September, but will also have to do intensity. It’s easy to train at altitude and do too much, so you train too much and don’t crest as you should.

“If you have a good coach, the runners should be OK, but the new season, after the lockout and the time at home, will be new for everyone. It’s difficult for runners, but it’s a fascinating time for a trainer like me. “”


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