Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) returns to action at the Clasica San Sebastian on Saturday after abandoning the Tour de France on the Col de la Croix de Fer on stage 17. The Frenchman will also line out at next month's Tour de l'Ain but has yet to piece together his race programme for the remainder of the season.
Pinot rode the Tour without general classification ambitions, citing the residual fatigue of his fine display at May's Giro d'Italia, where he placed 4th overall and won the penultimate stage into Asiago. He fell ill in the second half of the Tour, however, and was forced out in the third week with bronchitis.
"I was four days off the bike, on the couch, cooked," Pinot told L'Équipe. "I started training at the start of the week and I’ve felt a bit better for the past three or four days."
Pinot will ride the Tour de l'Ain from August 9-12, a race in which he won stages in 2011 and 2012, though on this occasion, he said that the emphasis, after a heavy race schedule to date, would be on "enjoyment." Pinot is scheduled to take a ten-day break after the Tour de l'Ain before deciding on how to proceed.
"For me, it's the most beautiful race, or in any case, the nicest, in France," Pinot said. "I'm coming back to racing at the Clasica so that I'll be able to race at the Tour de l'Ain. I haven't spoken about the end of the season with the team yet. We'll see how I am at the beginning of September, when I've had a break after the Tour de d'Ain. There's no point in going to races if you're just going to be very average there."
Pinot has often listed the Tour of Lombardy among his favourite races, and he placed third in the season-ending Classic in 2015, but he was reluctant to commit at this juncture to targeting a race that is still more than two months away on October 7.
"Frankly, we haven't talked about anything. The Tour de France has only just finished…" Pinot said. "Above all, I want to get some good sensations back and enjoy myself at the Tour de l'Ain."
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