In the three WorldTour stage races Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) has started this season, his results read fourth at Tirreno-Adriatico, tenth at Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco and fourth overall at the Tour de Romandie as he prepares to emulate his third place overall at the Tour de France. While Pinot is building consistency in weeklong stage races in the early season, the 24-year-old also bagged his first win in almost three years at the Tour de Romandie where he finished ahead of the likes of Rigoberto Uran (Etixx-Quick Step), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana).
Pinot soloed to victory on the penultimate stage of the race in Champex-Lac although twentieth place on the final day time trial in Lausanne saw Pinot drop to fourth overall but was enough to secure his best young riders jersey of the season. FDJ sport director Yvon Madiot explained that the tam was pleased with Pinot’s performance to cap off a block of racing which started in February.
"He did not have great legs," Madiot said on the FDJ website. "Nevertheless he finished in the top 20. He confirmed his good condition that he has had since the beginning of the week in this event which is close to his heart but is also spells the end of his first block which started in the Etoile de Bessèges in early February."
"Generally Thibaut is strong in these hilly stages and recovers well but today that was not the case. He started the stage with physical and moral fatigue. Pinot will take 10 days off. Tomorrow morning he will be at his pond for good spot of fishing and that's what he needs to recharge completely."
Madiot added that while Pinot may be disappointed to have slipped off the podium, he exceed pre-race objectives and gained further confidence as a result.
“He has the satisfaction of having achieved great results. He is not on the podium of the Tour de Romandie but we must remember what was said in the beginning of the event: A top 10 would be nice, a top five would be the culmination of a big week. He finished fourth but with a stage win and what matters is to have raised his arms," Madiot said. “The whole team has gained confidence and it's also a great satisfaction to see the involvement of the team members, including Steve Morabito who did a great ride by taking tenth.”
Following his ten day break, Pinot will resume training as he and FDJ recon the stages which will feature in the first week of the Tour de France.