Thibaut Pinot's (Groupama-FDJ) saw his dream of winning the 2020 Tour de France evaporate with over 40km to go on stage 8 when the Frenchman was dropped on the second climb of the day, the Port de Balès.
The Frenchman came into the first day in the Pyrenees in ninth overall, just 13 seconds off the race lead of Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) but would eventually finish over 25 minutes down.
The 30-year-old was distanced with 41km to go on the stage, roughly halfway up the HC climb of the Port de Balès as Jumbo-Visma set the pace.
Groupama-FDJ had already lost their road captain William Bonnet, who abandoned just before Pinot was dropped, and while the remaining Groupama-FDJ riders rallied around Pinot, the gap quickly went from just 15 seconds to well over six minutes as the peloton crested the Port de Balès.
Pinot crashed on stage 1 of the race just inside the final 3km of a wet and dangerous stage in Nice. He was given the same time as the leaders and appeared to come through the rest of the first week unscathed.
On stage 7, the Frenchman and his team were present and accounted for when the peloton split in the crosswinds – where he lost 1:40 last year. However, coming into stage 8 he talked about the power of other teams.
After being dropped on stage 8 Pinot appeared to stretch his back, with the French media quick to link his performance with the after effects of his stage 1 fall. He crossed the line in Loudenvielle 25:23 down on stage winner Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) and 18:43 down ono the GC group.
At the finish of stage 8 Marc Madiot gave his assessment to Eurosport:
"We’re not going to cry about it. We’re going to move forward. There’s no point in crying. I still don’t think that he’s recovered from that crash on the first stage of the Tour. In the mountains, it’s always difficult anyway.
"He’s been struggling since the second stage and we really thought that he was feeling better. He just wasn’t on the same level as he was on the Critérium du Dauphiné. We can tell that today was a tough one for him.
"We’re going to have to recover, then have the rest day, and hopefully, we can look at stage wins or the king of the mountains jersey."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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