Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) missed out on overall victory at the Tour of the Alps but ended his race on a high with an impressive performance on the final stage and his first ever sprint win as a professional.
The ever-aggressive Frenchman tried to crack Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) on the steepest section of the Monte Bondone climb, but when Thomas controlled every attack, Pinot switch focus and targeted the sprint finish in the historic centre of Trento.
After losing to Matteo Montaguti in the sprint in Cles on Thursday, Pinot made sure he was at the front and lead through the decisive final corner, accelerating to the line ahead of BMC's Brent Bookwalter and Thomas.
Victory topped off a consistent week of results. Pinot finished third, second, fifth, second and finally first on the five stages.
His only mistake was sitting too far back in the select group that formed on the climb to the finish on stage 3 after making his own attack. When Thomas surged across to Mikel Landa and Domenico Pozzovivo, Pinot had to make an extra effort to close the gap and failed to make it onto Thomas’ wheel. The Welshman managed to open a 13-seconds gap, setting up overall victory.
"I wanted a stage at the Tour of the Alps, I’ve battled hard to get it and finally succeeded. It’s an important win for me,”"Pinot acknowledged.
"Obviously, it feels bad to lose the overall by a few seconds, but I can only blame myself: Thomas was too strong on Wednesday’s stage 3, and I made a mistake of not following him when he attacked. Dropping Thomas was impossible, he was very strong. I could only make up for it by winning the stage."
Pinot admitted he had also made a mistake in Thursday’s sprint but was not going to miss out a second time.
"Yesterday I got a good lead out by the team for the sprint but I missed out on the win. Today I was focused on leading out the sprint and finally delivered. It’s important to learn from your mistakes.
"It’s also important to feel good. I would have liked to win the race but it’s satisfying to get this sprint win. I’ve come out of the five days of racing with a win and with good form. There are two weeks to the start of the Giro d’Italia, things are good and they can only get better."