HTC-Columbia's Marco Pinotti was not smiling this morning even though the sun was shinning on the Giro d'Italia's 12th stage. The Italian from Bergamo lost his chance to win the race the day before due to what he said was "a big mistake."
"I am angry because I missed a big chance yesterday," said Pinotti. "I was convinced to do a good GC this year. Then I saw [David] Arroyo going, but I was looking at the others. The cake was already baked."
Pinotti wore the leader's pink jersey for four days in 2007 and won a stage in 2008, but harboured a dream of winning the race overall as late as yesterday morning in Lucera.
A few kilometres into the Giro d'Italia's longest stage, his dream was over. Pinotti's direct rivals, Richie Porte and David Arroyo, slipped away in a 56-man escape. Also in the move was Carlos Sastre, the 2008 Tour de France winner.
The leaders' teams looked at each other, but no one committed to pulling back the escape. Australia's Porte took the pink jersey and Pinotti, with former leader Alexandre Vinokourov, finished 12 minutes back.
"It was like a perfect storm," he said, speaking English with a heavy Bergamasco accent.
"In five kilometres in the peloton, nobody was pedalling. Everyone was freezing. Everyone stopped for the jackets. No one wanted to go into the front.
"I said over the team radio, 'This looks more like chess than bike racing.'"
Pinotti believes that Giro d'Italia overall title is still within reach for the day's losers - Vinokourov, Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali and Ivan Basso - but not for him. He will likely re-focus and look for another stage win.
"Porte and Arroyo are the most dangerous. Sastre is dangerous, but Arroyo and Porte, they have a lot of time now. Especially with Porte, he's young, you don't know his condition."
Giro d'Italia 2010: Cycling Weekly's coverage index
2010 Giro d'Italia coverage in association with Zipvit
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