The Tao of Marco Pinotti

One of the gents of cycling, Marco Pinotti, announced earlier this week that he is retiring at the end of this season. Truly one of the sport’s good guys and a great rider, we’ll miss him both for his presence in the peloton and his uncompromising anti-doping stance.

He’s a man of integrity who speaks his mind and I’ve not read an interview with him yet that hasn’t included a little nugget of wisdom. So when I was trying to figure out the best way of celebrating his career, I found a feature from CycleSport magazine from 2010 that just felt right to condense down.

In the interview, Marco lists seven things that will make you a better rider. Take out the cycling references and I believe these are seven things that will make you a better person. I like it to call it …

The Tao of Marco Pinotti


“To be consistent, you actually have to be a little bit dissatisfied about what you are doing — that’s when you get curious. Keep asking questions, that way you’re trying to add a little bit more of yourself into your performance.”


Consistency: Marco has won the Italian national time trial championships six times


“In 2004 … I decided to find a new way to set goals and stick to them. In a sense, just deciding I needed to have specific aims was a huge step forward. If you know where you want to go, you will usually find a way to do it.”

Self discipline

“Cycling can’t make you feel like you’re constantly having to make sacrifices. If you’re not happy at the thought of going out training, then something’s going wrong. … Self-discipline means real attention to detail, to all the smaller questions as well as the bigger ones.”


Marco in the maglia rosa

Self confidence

“You have to learn to adapt to what you are and believe you’re heading in the right direction. Do everything you should do but don’t take it to extremes — there’s no point in living like a monk.”


“The best way to stick to goals is to have a list of priorities. Don’t just ‘go with your feelings when it comes to training’, be prepared for what you have to do.”


Marco : the 2008 Tour of Ireland champion


“If you want to perform better on the bike you need a stable lifestyle off the bike too, and if you haven’t got that, you’ll end up paying for it in your performance.”


“Using banned substances is the shortest way to achieving what you want at a higher level. The only problem is, apart from being an excuse not to train and being illegal, it takes away the value of everything you succeed in doing.”

I'd love to see Marco Pinotti win the rainbow jersey for TT (image courtesy of Davide Calibresi)

Never stop learning

“A human being needs changes. It’s repetition that makes you bored. You need new stimuli to keep feeling alive and you need new stimuli to keep your career alive.”

Please be sure to read the entire feature on – he has a lot to say! Also read Marco’s blog post in Velonation announcing his retirement and his future plans (psst, he’ll still be in cycling…) and an interview on bikeradar from a few years ago that is particularly insightful. Also, have a look at his e-book, The Cycling Professor, which came out last year. 

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