Thibaut Pinot has once again laid out his intentions to ride next year's Giro d'Italia following the route announcement on Tuesday. Pinot had previously said that he would like to ride the Italian Grand Tour, in order to 'spice up his career.' However, at last week's Tour de France presentation, Pinot also appeared keen to race that in 2017.
The big reveal of next year's Giro, with its plentiful summit finishes on some of the most iconic Italian climbs, including an early ascent of Mt Etna, has got his juices flowing for the Italian race.
"I really want to do this Giro," Pinot told L'Equipe. "I do not know how we're going to approach the race and how my program will look like. From early November, I will talk about it, and we will finalise [my programme], but the trends are favourable. It's a very attractive parcours. There are six real uphill finishes and two real time trials. It quickly becomes spectacular, with the finish on Etna on the fourth day."
Pinot has never ridden the Giro d'Italia, favouring his home Grand Tour instead. A top 10 finish on his debut Tour de France in 2012 announced him as a serious future general classification rider. He struggled the following season as his confidence took a big knock due to a problem with descending. After conquering that fear, he returned to the race in 2014 to take to the podium in third place. Since then, however, he has struggled to match that, and illness forced him to pull the plug early on this year's race, and season.
A title at the Giro d'Italia would allow Pinot to tackle a three-week race outside the pressure cooker of competing in his homeland. "I want to get back into the dynamics of a good general classification on a three-week race," said Pinot, speaking to another French newspaper Liberation. "I have had two failures in the Tour de France from this point of view - or a failure and a half, considering my victory at the Alpe d'Huez.
"Frankly, it would be great to break the routine, to test a climb like the Stelvio which I still have never done. Well, it's true, it will not be easy to do reconnaissance, because snow just before the event
The Giro d'Italia 2017 will start in Sardinia on May 5, and conclude in Milan with a time trial three weeks later. Pinot's desires to race in Italy may be stopped in their infancy if his team's sponsors put pressure on them to ensure his place at the Tour de France. As the French national lottery, FDJ will be keen to have their best stage racer at their home race.
"The Tour de France will always remain the priority of the FDJ and this is normal," he said. "The question is about reaching the Tour having ridden the Giro just before."
Liberation also indicated that other French general classification hope Romain Bardet, who finished second at this year's Tour de France, could make an appearance at the Giro d'Italia.