Philippa York: All cycling fans want is Thibaut Pinot’s return to the top

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The Tour de Romandie represented the next stage of Thibaut Pinot’s comeback.

Entering the race, Pinot had won the last stage of the Tour des Alpes and was presented as an outsider in Switzerland.

The prologue, by his own admission, was poor and the next day he lost time behind a crash 20km from the finish. However, from then on he looked good and was consistently close to the front when needed. Supported by a Groupama-FDJ team that rode in his service, Pinot’s biggest test was always going to be the big mountain stage on Saturday, with six categorized climbs and 4,000m of elevation gain. He finished fifth, which was more than respectable, but perhaps the most telling aspect of the day was what he said in a post-race interview.

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“It wasn’t that difficult. It wasn’t a high mountain day, and it felt more like a medium incline effort for me, so we tried to make it hard, at the end, to see what was going on,” he said. he declares.

In the final uphill time trial the next day, he was a solid sixth and looked fully recovered from the previous week’s efforts.

All in all, Pinot’s Tour de Romandie is an encouraging outing for Groupama-FDJ, who have supported him through the last few years of ups and downs as he tried to find a solution to his irregular form.

Philippe Maudit, Pinot’s sporting director, explained the importance of improving his rider’s consistency after a long period of doubt and moments of anxiety.

“It’s been so long since Thibault was able to be the driver we know. Accidents, illnesses, injuries happened every time he came back, so there was always something wrong,” he said. BikeNews.

“Since last winter, we have seen that he has a good foundation and that he is progressing regularly. There has been no dip in what he does.

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This progress is due to the fact that Pinot finally took the time to fully heal from his exit from the Tour de France in 2020. Over the 18 months that followed, Pinot consulted various specialists, tried many solutions, and it did not is that towards the end of last year that he still felt good.

“Now we can see he’s capable of a steady level, so he’s slowly getting back to his peak form, step by step. During Saturday’s stage, I asked him how he was feeling before the final climb. and he told me he didn’t know because he hadn’t made a big effort yet. Then I knew he was good because there were runners, good runners, who were dropped. So we put riders up front to make it more difficult, in the end it was a headwind and Thibaut couldn’t win the sprint but it was good for him and for the team. to have a leader again who is on his level, ”said Maudit.

And that’s what every cycling fan wants to see again, the return of performance and emotions that the Haut-Saônois has given us over the years.

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