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Pinot extends with FDJ for two years

Thibaut Pinot has put pen to paper on a new two-year deal that will keep him at FDJ through to the end of the 2018 season. 

The Frenchman's contract was set to expire at the end of this year, and he said at the start of the season that he would consider offers from other teams, though he did say he saw himself staying with the French national lottery-sponsored WorldTour outfit.

A deal in principal was drawn up a month ago and, after the terms were finalised - with a salary rise likely - the extension was announced at FDJ's pre-Tour de France press conference on Thursday morning. 

"I didn't see myself leaving despite some better offers, which came from good foreign teams," said Pinot, according to L'Equipe. "Being approached was gratifying, and I listened to what they were offering."

FDJ, the French national lottery company, extended their backing of the team through to the end of 2018 earlier this year, which is understood to have smoothed Pinot's decision to stay, with the 26-year-old an important asset for a team sponsored by the French state. 

Pinot has been at FDJ since turning pro in 2010 and has since emerged as a leading French stage race hope for a nation that has waited 30 years for a home winner of the Tour de France. He 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 heads into the race with more confidence than ever having made marked improvements in his time trialling and will be one of the contenders for the maillot jaune.  

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