Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) slipped from first to fourth place overall following the concluding time trial of the Tour de Suisse but he was keen to draw positives from his week as he prepares for the Tour de France.
The Frenchman held a lead of 34 seconds coming into Sunday’s time trial in Bern, but he finished the 38km test in 14th place, 1:50 down on Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin), and ultimately dropped to fourth overall, 45 seconds down on winner Simon Spilak (Katusha).
The parcours of the 2015 Tour de Suisse was less mountainous than usual and Wednesday’s stage to the top of the Rettenbachferner – where Pinot won and took hold of the yellow jersey – was the lone summit finish of the week.
“I needed an extra summit finish,” Pinot said, according to L’Équipe. “I knew that this time trial would cause bigger gaps than the mountain stage, and that’s what makes the difference between a week-long stage race and the Grand Tours. Dumoulin and Spilak are specialists in one-week races.”
It marked the third time Pinot has finished fourth overall at a WorldTour stage race this year, following Tirreno-Adriatico and the Tour de Romandie. For good measure, Pinot had already placed fourth at the Tour de Suisse in 2013, but he said that the four days spent in the overall lead meant that this year’s event marked a significant progression.
“It’s the first time that I’ve been the leader on a WorldTour race. I spent four days in the yellow jersey. That was something new and it had to be managed. It was a good experience and an additional pressure. It was difficult to get used to at first, but these are things that take time,” he said.
Pinot will not race again before the Tour de France gets underway in Utrecht on July and he will thus forgo the French national championships road race, which takes place in the Vendée next Sunday.
“I can’t do everything. If the national championships were in the east of the country, I’d have gone there. But I can’t allow myself to do three days of travelling less than two weeks before the Tour,” Pinot said.