Madiot: Thibaut Pinot will bounce back quickly

FDJ manager puts Lombardia on Frenchman's menu

Another year, another disappointing Tour de France for Thibaut Pinot who, for the second year running, has fallen short of the expectations he had raised with his 2014 podium finish.

As was the case last year, he began to lose considerable time in the first week but, rather than reviving his race as he did with victory on Alpe d'Huez, he has been forced to abandon before reaching the Alps, with medical tests revealing a viral infection.

Marc Madiot, who memorably indulged in wild celebrations from the FDJ team car as a 22-year-old Pinot burst onto the scene with a solo win in the Jura mountains in 2012, attributed his marquee rider's travails to the natural ups and downs of a pro cyclist, and voiced his confidence in Pinot's ability to bounce back quickly.

"It's always important to know what's up. After that you have to let time take its course. Then you get back on your feet physically, in the first instance, and then psychologically – because they're both linked," he told Cyclingnews and a small group of reporters in Villars-les-Dombes after stage 14.

"Hopefully that will allow him to recover 100 per cent and have a strong end of the season. We'll be back next year. And there are still big races towards the end of the season – we know he likes the Tour of Lombardy so we'll try and focus on that."

As for a possible trip to Spain to contest the Vuelta a España, Madiot said he hadn't yet had a chance to speak to Pinot about how his programme will now shape up.

Pinot has now endured two rough Tours de France in succession and Madiot was asked if he was reassured that his rider had been diagnosed as he was – thus giving a medical explanation that would seem to negate any suspicion of a more general deficiency in Pinot.

"Even before seeing the results of the test we never doubted his capacities," Madiot said in riposte.

"The talent and value of a rider don't disappear in a matter of hours or days. In life, in a cycling career, there are highs and lows. At the moment we're in a delicate moment, but in general when you hit the bottom you bounce back, and that's the case for all riders, whether they're called Pinot, Dumoulin or whatever. You go through more difficult moments, naturally, when things don't go well, but fortunately human nature knows best and you bounce back quickly.

"I've never had a concern about that. He, too, has had difficult moments in the past, and he was able to bounce back rapidly. So that's the case this time again."

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