Thibaut Pinot, vainqueur de la 5e étape du Tour des Alpes : "J’avais la rage, le couteau entre les dents"

Thibaut Pinot, vainqueur de la 5e étape du Tour des Alpes : “J’avais la rage, le couteau entre les dents”

It was believed that the fate was relentless. That history would repeat itself again. When Thibaut Pinot had a mechanical problem at the foot of the final ascent of this Tour of the Alps, the specter of perpetual bad luck crossed him. But Pinot very quickly revived, taking over from a David de la Cruz who had not sought to take advantage of the situation. A few minutes later, the French climber from Groupama-FDJ finally put an end to nearly three years of scarcity.

There’s not much that could happen to me today. I had a lot of little problems during the stage…”, he smiled, questioned shortly after his victory. As if his liberating success had to resemble him. Because Thibaut Pinot played with the nerves of his admirers until the end. In the Stronach, a 3.2 km wall at 11.8%, he took a fifteen-second lead over De la Cruz… but the Spaniard from Astana Qazaqstan came back on the descent.

Tour of the Alps

Pinot back, Bardet at the top: Big blue in the Alps


Rain, mechanical problems, decisive wall: the big day for Pinot and Bardet

The stars have aligned

There remained then a sprint uphill, to decide between the two men. To “turn this shitty page”, as Pinot had failed to do the day before. But this time, the Franc-Comtois proved intractable in Lienz. Too punchy for his opponent, too angry for anyone. It was his day. “I knew that with the rain, the breakaway had a chance to go to the endreports the 3rd of the Tour de France 2014. It was a really difficult course, it was very cold, these are conditions that I really like.”
Conditions at the antipodes of those which had seen him win the 14th stage of the Tour de France 2019. It was more than 1000 days ago. At the top of the Tourmalet, Pinot was familiar with the stars. Since then, he has lived almost three years of hardship, until Friday April 22, 2022, during the 5th and last stage of the Tour des Alpes, “(his) favorite event“.”It’s a big relief to winhe said, less demonstrative than 24 hours ago. It’s really bliss.”

Pinot: “A big relief to be back here, it’s very strong for me”

“I feed so much on my failures…”

I was mad that nightadded Pinot, at the microphone of our colleagues from L’Equipe. This morning, I had the knife between my teeth. I wanted that one, I had great legs.” He has again proven his art of resurgence: “I bounce back very quickly, it’s kind of my specialty. I feed so much on my failures that each failure gives me strength. I was overwhelmed, I didn’t miss a breakaway, I did everything thoroughly, all day. I felt neither the cold nor the rain.”
Friday’s outpouring of joy was less dramatic than Thursday’s intense frustration. They are intimately linked. It was in two stages that Pinot managed to stop the negative spiral that has eaten away at him since this 2019 Tour, which left with an injury, during the penultimate stage. The following ? A Dauphiné 2020 which narrowly escapes him, then a fall from the start of the Grande Boucle, in Nice, and two years of running as much behind his form as against his back pain.

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) on the last stage of the Tour des Alpes

Credit: Getty Images

“It will really relieve me, free me from a weight”

There were several positive signals before Friday’s issue for Pinot (31 years old, 32 wins). Including an optimistic speech at the start of his 2022 season.”To be injured for so long without seeing the end of the tunnel was morally hard enough. I always clung to the idea of ​​returning to my best, that’s what allowed me to return to a very good level“, he summed up in January, decided to “become the front runner again (her) fall on the Tour 2020.”
There were also some slack, among others on this same Tour of the Alps in 2021. Recently, Pinot tasted the asphalt again during the Circuit de la Sarthe, then he finished in an anonymous 14th place in the Classic Grand Besançon Doubs , April 15. But he never stopped believing it. He is rewarded and forward-looking: “They will stop talking to me about my 1000 and a few days without winning. This will really relieve me, free me from a weight. I know that I am again capable of winning good races. Next week I’m going to the Tour de Romandie to shine.”

Thibaut Pinot still on the attack, during the 5th stage of the Tour des Alpes

Credit: Getty Images

Tour of the Alps

Rain, mechanical problems, decisive wall: the big day for Pinot and Bardet


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