Pinot sees time trial improvements as key to Tour de France success

Thibaut Pinot has set the time trial at the Olympic Games in Rio as an objective for 2016 as he works to improve his ability against the clock so he can become more competitive in the Tour de France.

With a 37km time trial in the 2016 Tour de France and the French national championships near his home in the Haute-Saône department, the Frenchman has extra motivation to work on his time trialing ahead of next year. A place in the time trial in Rio is up for grabs, giving him something to aim at, while he has already set the Tour de France and Olympic road race as his double goal of the summer.

"My big goal for 2016 is the Tour and the Olympics. If I go to Rio, I'd also like to ride the time trial. Why not? Having Rio as a goal can help me improve, motivate me and help me work harder. I can still improve considering my age," he told French newspaper L'Equipe.

"I've got to ride this year's national championships. I like rolling courses that aren't too technical. I train on the route of the championships and know it well. I want to train more for time trials. I'm also going to get a new bike that will help me perform better."

'Attacking' the 2016 season

Pinot begins a training camp with his FDJ teammates in Calpe today after spending time in the Alps with the French national team. FDJ will train until December 17, clocking up the miles on the Spanish coast, where numerous other teams have also set up camp this winter.

Pinot did some cross country skiing in the Alps last week but has been back on the bike since early November, taking advantage of the mild winter in Europe.

"The off season went well. I had a good time and played plenty of football. I even went to see Paris Saint Germain play Real Madrid," he said.

"I got back on the bike in early November. That's earlier than usual but I took advantage of the weather. I'd be crazy not to. I think I'm at about the same point as last year or even a little better."

Pinot finished 16th in this year's Tour de France after losing time in the first week and in the Pyrenees. He bounced back to win the final mountain stage to l'Alpe d'Huez but is convinced he can challenge for the yellow jersey after finishing third overall in 2014. He also has other goals for next spring.

"My first goal is again Tirreno-Adriatico and I hope to have a good winter to be ready for it," he explained. "I want to attack the season, starting with the GP Marseillaise (Jan 31) and the Etoile de Besseges (February 3-7).

"My 2016 season will be similar to last year, with Tirreno-Adriatico, the Tour de Romandie as goals, then I'll do the Dauphine instead of the Tour de Suisse, so that I can prepare for the French national championships. The only change is that I won't head back to Oman this year. The weather conditions weren't good for me because I love the cold. I think it's better if I stay in Europe."

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