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Pinot sees Mont Ventoux as the hardest stage of the Tour de France

Jean-François Quénet
June 22, 2013, 15:31,
June 22, 2013, 16:38
First Edition Cycling News, Sunday, June 23, 2013
Tour de France
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) in the best young rider's jersey in Romandie

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) in the best young rider's jersey in Romandie

  • Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) in the best young rider's jersey in Romandie
  • Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
  • Thibaut Pinot enjoys his stage victory in the Tour

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Young Frenchman hopes for Spanish coalition against Team Sky

 Eleven months after becoming the first under-23 rider to make the final top 10 of the Tour de France since 1947, Thibaut Pinot is fired up for his second attempt one week prior to lining up in Corsica for the 100th edition of the race.

“Last year, I was a little bit like a tourist at the start,” the FDJ rider told Cyclingnews on the eve of the French championship in Lannilis. “It worked out well. But my run-up this time is completely different. Except for the Pyrenees, I know all the crucial parts of the course. I’ve tried to leave nothing to chance. I’m the leader of the team.”

On Friday, he reconnoitred the individual time trial from Avranches to Mont-Saint-Michel (stage 11) as well as the coastal part of stage 10 alongside the English Channel before the finish at Saint-Malo, a windy area where damage can be done.

One year ago, he got a last minute start because he was on good form at the Tour de Suisse and FDJ was left without a climber as Arnold Jeannesson, who finished 15th in 2011, was injured. This time around, he was the only rider selected by Marc Madiot at the beginning of the season.

“I rode with three goals this year: the Volta Catalunya, the Tour de Romandie and the Tour de Suisse”, Pinot said. He finished 8th, 12th and 4th at those World Tour races. “We’ll learn later on if my fourth place at the Tour de Suisse was a breakthrough in my career or not. Nobody remembers fourth places. I’m a bit frustrated because I had the legs for the podium but I feel relieved at the same time. I hope I’ll go well at the Tour too. I even start to get some good feelings in time trialling, which was my weak point. We’ve raced very well as a team at the Tour de Suisse. I hope to have a few more weeks like this coming up.”

Pinot chose the Tour de Suisse over the Dauphiné but followed closely what happened in the French Alps. “Chris Froome is clearly the favourite and Richie Porte can finish second overall,” the 23-year-old said. “The three Spaniards [Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde] weren’t at 100% at the Dauphiné. Only if they race united at the Tour, Porte will be forced to pace a lot. But if they are selfish, it’ll be hard to beat Froome. At uphill finishes, to attack three kilometres from the top will useless for GC. I see the Mont Ventoux much harder than l’Alpe d’Huez but if the difference is not made before the Chalet-Reynard, nothing will happen because of the wind.”

After finishing tenth overall last year, Pinot is probably the biggest threat to defending champion Tejay van Garderen for the white jersey of best young rider. As a pure climber, he might as well target the polka dot jersey. “My initial goal is the overall classification,” he announced. “The white jersey is linked to my position on GC.”

Trafficrider More than 1 year ago
Not to take away from Pinot's fantastic Tour debut last year, but he certainly was not the first U23 since 1947 to crack the top ten. None other than Jan Ullrich finished 2nd overall in 1996 while ~22.5 years of age.
yetanothergreenworld More than 1 year ago
And don't forget Fignon, who turned 23 the month after he won his first TDF in 1983.
FFrenchcyclisme More than 1 year ago
And Laurent Fignon was not 23 years old yet when he won his first tour de France in 1983 for his first participation. As for pinot a top 7 would be very good, a top 5 would be great and a podium would be exceptional
Lord.Bachus More than 1 year ago
A Spanish Coalition in cycling, never heart of that before, just ask Sean Kelly, he among others can tell you. What will this coalition be named? The Fuentes Connection?
Trafficrider More than 1 year ago
You'd get a far more visceral reply on that subject from Robert Millar!
yetanothergreenworld More than 1 year ago
Pinot has really impressed me so far. He's had some amazing results at a young age when he still has room for some technical improvements, especially downhilling. And he's also not a bad natural TTer, even with the lack of training in that discipline at FDJ (with all due respect to Marc Madiot).
srsplato More than 1 year ago
I would love to see the Spanish stick together and make a run at the Tour! It would sure make it more exciting!
Jeff41 More than 1 year ago
He is spot, play selfish and the best any of them can hope for is 3rd place, work together and break the sky train and just maybe there will be a upset, you only live once, please lets see those attacks early on otherwise the TDF could end up as dull as the last one.
Jeff41 More than 1 year ago
spot on I should have said
Mike Jacoubowsky More than 1 year ago
OK, I'll bite. He's French, presumably spends some time in... France... is riding the Tour de France... and has not become familiar with the Pyreneean stages? It's not quite as bad as Andy Schleck in 2011 saying he didn't need to ride the final TT course because he'd watched others ride on during the Dauphine on TV. And it's been a bad spring for weather in the Pyrenees this year, with many of the passes closed up until just a few weeks ago. But still...
ycpjoh More than 1 year ago
I like Pinot and hope he does well but he seems to have got Schleck-Wiggins syndrome when descending. Until he gets over that his ambition will always be limited to Top 10 but not on the podium in these sort of races.