Marc Madiot: Pinot saved FDJ's season

Marc Madiot has described his FDJ team's performance during 2015 as "average" and admitted that the French team only achieved that level because "they were saved to a large degree by Thibaut Pinot". The squad's total of 15 victories was its worst tally since 2001 and little more than half of the 28 successes taken the year before.

"The team misfired for a long time. It wasn't stoked up like it should have been," Madiot told "We lost the guiding principles that we had before. It seemed to me that some of the riders weren't hungry, that they'd had enough."

The French team manager said his leaders weren't to blame for the poor showing, and heaped particular praise on Pinot. "Thibaut showed that he is very capable of responding when expected. He has really progressed. He had what was undoubtedly the most difficult Tour de France of his career but he recovered from the hard blows he suffered during the first week to finish on a high," said Madiot.

"I wasn't surprised to see him attacking in the third week because he always finishes Grand Tours well and of course he won at Alpe d'Huez," Madiot added that he expects his stage race leader to finish in the top five in all his future Grand Tour outings.

Madiot also refused to blame sprinter Arnaud Démare for FDJ's lack of success, even though his win tally dropped from 15 in 2014 to just two this past season. Madiot said that Démare had been unlucky at the major Classics and revealed that, "Arnaud's tests show that he was stronger in 2015 than in 2014. This isn't a physical issue and as a result we've always supported him."

Madiot suggested that the problem lies in Démare's character. "Arnaud must learn to be harder with his teammates," he explained. "From the start of next season there has to be a new sense of spirit and a new dynamic."

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