Just four days into the Tour de France and the hopes of winning for last year’s third-placed Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) are already shattered. Pinot lost 1:28 during the crosswinds stage on Sunday, 1:30 on stage 3 at the uphill finish in Huy and then 3:23 on stage 4 when the race hit the cobbles.
It’s clear that Pinot is already out of contention for the overall victory, as he currently sits in 30th position, 6:30 from new race leader Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep) and 12 seconds less on second-placed Christopher Froome (Team Sky).
First Pinot was confronted with a flat tyre on the 3.7km long penultimate pavé sector from Fontaine-au-Tertre to Quiévy at about 20 km from the finish line in Cambrai. A few minutes later, TV-images showed a furious and disappointed Pinot on the asphalt as he was once again confronted with mechanical problems.
With the FDJ-team car being far behind, Pinot had to wait a long time to receive support. Meanwhile, he didn’t want to receive a bike from teammate Mathieu Ladagnous, and when receiving support he was raging against his mechanic instead.
"I lost all speed," Pinot said. "I was stuck on the big ring and had to change my bike. It was a mechanical problem but I wasn’t enjoying a great day either. I didn’t want to take the bike from Mathieu because he’s 10 centimetres taller than me. I was just waiting for my own bike."
Being distanced in the general classification, it’s obvious Pinot will have to switch focus from an overall victory or the podium to something more realistic. "We’ll have to see what new objectives I can focus on. The Tour is not over yet. There are still two and a half weeks to go."