Pinot set to sign new two-year deal with FDJ

New contract to be signed before Tour de France

Thibaut Pinot is set to commit his future to FDJ, the team he has called home since turning pro in 2010, for another two years.

According to French newspaper L'Equipe, the Frenchman will sign a new deal that will take him through to the end of 2018. He is expected to put pen to paper before the start of the Tour de France on July 2.

Pinot had said at the start of the year that, with his contract expiring at the end of 2016, he would listen to offers from other teams but would likely continue with FDJ. "I see myself continuing with them, but I'm not going to close other doors."

Soon after, FDJ, the national lottery company in France that has sponsored the team since 1997, announced it would extend its backing through to 2018, which has smoothed Pinot's decision to stay.

The main details of the contract that remain to be ironed out revolve around Pinot's salary. L'Equipe say the 26-year-old earns in the region of €900,000 on his current deal, which is some way below the €5million earned by the highest-paid Grand Tour riders Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Alberto Contador (Tinkoff).

Given the team is backed by a state-owned company, securing the continued services of Pinot, the nation's leading stage race hope, represents an important piece of business. The French public have waited 31 years, and counting, since a home rider last won the Tour de France - Bernard Hinault in 1985.

Pinot finished in the top 10 at his debut Tour de France in 2012 and got himself on the podium in 2014 before a disappointing performance last year was redeemed by a famous win atop Alpe d'Huez. 

This year he looks in a better position than ever to challenge for the maillot jaune, having made great strides forward in his time trialling ability. Once an area of weakness, he notably got the better of specialists like Tom Dumoulin and Bob Jungels in winning stage 3 of the Tour de Romandie. 

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