Pinot pleased with 2016 Tour de France offering

FDJ rider aiming for repeat of 2014 podium finish

Thibaut Pinot believes the 2016 Tour de France parcours, unveiled in Paris on Tuesday, suits his characteristics and a repeat of his 2014 podium position is possible.

“My ambition is to go for the general classification and finish as close to the podium as possible," Pinot told French sports daily L'Équipe in Paris.

The FDJ rider finished third overall in 2014 and won the best young rider classification but saw his GC hopes evaporate in the first week of the 2015 Tour de France. 25-year-old Pinot became a regular animator in the second and third week of the race as he chased a stage win, which he did so atop Alpe d'Huez on the penultimate day of the race to finish 16th overall.

With the race looking to suit riders such as Pinot and two-time winner Chris Froome, Pinot told L'Équipe of his initial impressions of the 2016 route.

"It is a beautiful course," Pinot said. "The first mountain comes after five days [and] it changes a lot of things and it suits me. The first week should be less complicated than this year. I will have to be careful around Carcassonne and Montpellier [because of the wind]. Both time trials please me well, although I am not sure that we should expect large differences between the leaders in the race against the clock along the coast."

Despite last year's Tour featuring just one individual time trial, Pinot believes the the 2016 route with two tests against the clock will be more of a course for the climbers like Nairo Quintana (Movistar).

"The mountain stages are staggered, that's interesting," he said. "In general, I find that the course tends to favour small riders. Next year's itinerary should be more favourable to Quintana than this year's route."

Having also placed tenth overall and won a stage on his Tour debut in 2012, Pinot is considered as one the French hopes to break the drought of French winners that stretches back to Bernard Hinault's fifth and final victory in 1985. With the course also suiting the characteristics of compatriots, Ag2r-La Mondiale's Romain Bardet and Giant-Alpecin's Warren Barguil, there will be pressure from the French fans for one of the trio to ride into Paris wearing the yellow jersey.

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