Thibaut Pinot didn’t stop on the finishing line of Ax 3 Domaines to comment on his mediocre showing in the first mountain stage at the Tour de France but the feeling of devastation was visible on his face.
"I spoke with him," FDJ team manager Marc Madiot said. "He's very disappointed, for himself, for his teammates. He didn't want to talk tonight. It was time to evacuate from different kinds of pressure, including the one from the media."
Madiot reassured the 23-year-old as they spoke about his weakness in the downhill. He got dropped riding down from the Col de Pailhères. At the bottom of the final climb to Ax 3 Domaines, he needed a bike change after his earpiece connection got stuck in his back wheel - he wanted to get rid of it because of the stress he encountered.
"The Tour de France is a long affair," Madiot told him. "A lot of riders are already very tired but you're not."
"This kind of stage is very difficult for a rider like Thibaut who gets scared at high speed", FDJ directeur sportif Thierry Bricaud noted. "Today it was very fast, sometimes between 90 and 100km/h. He's actually not that bad going downhill, he has improved but he still needs to improve more. He's very disappointed but the Tour is far from over. The Alps will be difficult. For him to make the top-10, he has to take riders like Cadel Evans as a point of reference, not Chris Froome. And we see that Evans is not far from him. Today Thibaut is not where he should be and he knows it well. We're looking forward to the coming stages because he's got pride. He'll do his best to make it up."
"There are a lot of expectations because he's a Frenchman and he put the level very high last year", Madiot added. "Tonight we've lost a battle but not the war. The team remains fully behind him. He loves racing. I'm confident that he'll come back up on GC."
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