Frenchman chasing stage wins
Having enjoyed a short period of rests which included "aperitifs and barbecues," Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr), the third placed rider and best young rider of the Tour de France, is ready for the Vuelta España where he will target a stage win and the King of the Mountains classification.
Pinot was seventh overall last year at the Spanish grand tour but is under no pressure to record a high GC result this time round.
"I'm looking forward to the Vuelta," Pinot said. "I just love this race, I'll be able to go to the Vuelta with no pressure and ride for a stage win and the King of the Mountain competition."
The 24-year-old added that since the Tour finished on July 27, he enjoyed a small rest and has now started training again but isn't back to his podium finishing best just yet..
"One week ahead of the start at Jerez de la Frontera, I still feel the fatigue from the Tour de France," he said. "I've had a two-week break. I went for a holiday and I rode three criteriums. On August 11, I resumed training but I don't feel like I'm back in a good shape yet."
Having placed tenth in his debut grand tour, the 2012 Tour, Pinot's seventh place at the 2013 Vuelta was a confirmation of his GC ambitions and he explained for that reason he has fond memories of the race.
"Last year I was coming out of a failure at the Tour de France", he said of the illness which forced him out of the race. "At the Vuelta, I fought with the best riders every day. It put me back on track for a solid preparation of the 2014 season. But I haven't won a race this year yet. I don't want to go for my winter break without raising my hands up in the air. Climbs are difficult in Spain. I like them. I want to win a stage."
FDJ will be hoping that the departing Nacer Bouhanni can deliver a few stage wins in the sprints just as he did at the Giro d'Italia. Bouhanni won three stages and the points competition at the Italian grand tour and Pinot explained that with several of his teammates chaing personal ambitions, he is free to ride as he pleases
"I don't know I'll overcome the fatigue, that's all", Pinot added. "I hope that my team-mate [and last year's winner at the Angliru] Kenny Elissonde will ride for GC. Or else Alexandre Geniez [who also won a mountain stage at Peyragudes last year] could be the man.
"It would be something good for my team to focus on and it would make me free from handling the responsibilities. I want to ride for the fun of it."
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