Where is Thibaut Pinot?
The French star was not at the presentation of the Tour de France route last Thursday in Paris, but Groupama-FDJ boss Marc Madiot is optimistic that his former captain will line up for the 109th edition.
“There is a good chance that if things go well, he will be at the start of the Tour,” said Madiot. CMR french radio. “He had a bib on his back a few days ago, and he will still have one [last] weekend. So we will digest the season, and take a closer look at the course, because you always have to be wary of the first impression and the euphoria.
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On paper, the explosive and varied course could be ideal for Pinot, but the French hope of the GC, who will be 32 at the start of the Tour next year, is coming out of a delicate season with nagging questions on his back.
Will he make a comeback on the Tour de France? One thing Pinot doesn’t like is the pressure.
A solid return that bodes well for the 2022 Tour de France
Pinot withdrew from the 2019 Tour in tears when it emerged that a podium or maybe even a victory could have been within his grasp. In 2020, he managed to climb to 29th place in Paris, but a fall in the opening stage complicated his race.
Rather than giving up in 2020, Pinot persevered. It only seemed to exacerbate his health problems, and in the spring of 2021 Pinot was a mess, and he withdrew from a planned assault on the Giro d’Italia in May.
Read also: Pinot abandons the Tour de France 2019 in tears
He only returned to racing in August and managed to quietly end the 2021 season with a series of promising top 10, including fifth at the Coppa Bernocchi and seventh overall in the Tour of Luxembourg.
“He was at the forefront playing for the podium,” Groupama-FDJ sporting director Sebastian Joly told Bernocchi. “It’s a good sign that he can stay with the best. “
▪ Sébastien Joly: ”We suspected that the race could be very different with regard to the weather conditions”
▪ Thibaut Pinot: “It was a showdown with the peloton until about fifty kilometers from the finish”
– Groupama-FDJ Cycling Team (@GroupamaFDJ) October 4, 2021
Writing in a social media post this summer, Pinot explained how persistent back pain led to a litany of other structural issues that virtually derailed his 2021 season.
« To continue pedaling in recent months, I had to compensate by soliciting other muscles to relieve my back, which caused pain in the hips, lower back, buttocks, ”explained Pinot.
After three weeks of complete rest, Pinot underwent physical therapy for six weeks and slowly began to incorporate horseback riding into his schedule, with a two-hour morning ride, followed by workouts.
Things improved enough for Pinto to return to racing in August, and he set 22 days of racing, finishing with Il Lombardia earlier this month, where he crossed the 50th line, although still far from his winning form in 2018.
Madiot on the cobblestones of the Tour de France: “Everyone is running on the defensive”
Asked about the inclusion of cobblestones in the route of the Tour 2022, Madiot has his reservations.
Madiot – who has won Paris-Roubaix twice during his racing career – said he doesn’t believe the punishing pavement brings much to the Tour.
Read also: Lefevere does not like cobblestones in Tour
Agreeing with Deceuninck-Quick-Step boss Patrick Lefevere, who also said he doesn’t like seeing the cobblestones of the Tour, Madiot said it was too dangerous and costly for the teams during the Tour. .
“I am divided by the question,” he told French radio. “It’s good on paper, but on the course… you see the big teams riding with the brakes. Everyone rides together to protect their leader in order to avoid wasting time or crashing into such a stage, running on the defensive.