Pinot responded to several attacks by Nibali on the Civiglio climb in the final 20 kilometres of the race and even tried some accelerations of his own. He was unable to follow Nibali when the Italian dived down the descent and just lacked a little extra power to stay with Dani Moreno (Katusha) on the final climb of San Fermo della Battaglia overlooking Como. He finished 32 seconds down on Nibali and 11 seconds behind Moreno.
"It's a hard race but it's a great race. Nibali was simply too strong for the rest of us today," Pinot told journalists in Como after climbing on the podium.
"He was the strongest, the smartest and the sneakiest. He attacked at the right moment after bossing the race. He attacked several times on the climb and then attacked on the descent too. He got 200 metres on us and that was enough, it was race over for the rest of us.
"I'm proud of my place on the podium because Lombardia was a big goal of mine and I worked hard to be good here. To make it on the podium after such a hard, selective race against such good riders is a good day for me. I'm happy."
While loots of riders will head to the UAE on Monday and Tuesday to end the season at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Tour, Pinot is done for the year and is looking forward to a break. Despite failing to repeat his podium spot in the Tour de France, he insisted his season had been a success.
"I'm heading home tomorrow morning and I'm on holiday from tonight. It's time to relax and switch off a little bit," he said.
"I think I've had a good season. I won five races, a podium in a monumental Classic and a stage win at the Tour, so it's been a good season."
Pinot won't stay in Italy for Monday's Giro d'Italia presentation but he signed off by hinting he could be at the start next May.
"I hope to ride the Giro d'Italia next year to aim for a place on the podium," he said. "I like the Giro but of course, like for any French rider, the Tour de France always has priority. We'll see…."