Regardless of inflation, Thibaut Pinot always runs on pride. Friday July 8, the child of Melisey (Haute-Saône) was judged ” bad “ in “his” climb of the Super Planche des Belles Filles (31e), not at the level of the passion of its many supporters. “The day before, he cries and says shit in front of people and the next day he wins. That’s what makes Thibaut”confided his father, Régis, on Saturday, in The team.
The reaction took two days. The day after the involuntary headline from a Trek-Segafredo assistant, the Groupama-FDJ climber regained his dark gaze of the great days, chasing behind Bob Jungels (AG2R-Citroën), future winner of this 9e stage of the Tour de France 2022.
Despite its 4e place in Châtel-Les Portes du Soleil (Haute-Savoie), Sunday July 10, the Frenchman – overtaken in the last meters by the Spaniards Jonathan Castroviejo (Ineos Grenadiers) and Carlos Verona (Movistar) – had no regrets.
Thibaut Pinot is like that, always ready to give of himself and wiggle his hips on his bike “to revive the race a little”, he said at the microphone of France 2. When he extricated himself from a somewhat soft group of counterattacks, in the footsteps of Morgins, about twenty kilometers from the finish, the Frenchman himself thought the case was over, with a Bob Jungels strong of more than two minutes early.
Resurrect his career at 29
But with a Pinot almost from the great days, the seconds fall very quickly. In large clusters in the high percentages, less in a softer last part and favorable to the qualities of the Luxembourgish. The GPS gap will refuse to drop below 20 seconds between the two men.
“I understood at the top of the last climb that it was going to be complicated, admits the Frenchman. Even though I had taken time from him in the difficult parts, he rode well on the rolling parts, and the end was to his advantage. Bob Jungels did a number too. »
A sixty-four kilometer number, to be precise. In a stage finally promised – on paper – to the daring, Bob Jungels chose the Col de la Croix to let go of his twenty breakaway companions and revive his career at 29 years old. Since the end of 2020 and his departure from Quickstep, the talent of the Luxembourger was already combined with a little imperfect, between injuries and lack of results. On arrival, this chase sent him back to the one he had disputed with the Belgian Jelle Vanendert, on the road to his victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2018. The return of Thibaut Pinot made the finale even more exciting”, greeted the AG2R-Citroën rider.
In Liège, Jungels had won his “monument” with the approval of his leader and friend, a Julian Alaphilippe encumbered by his favorite sign that day. Able to shine in the hilly one-day “classics”, to win a Paris-Roubaix in juniors, to ride hard in the time trial or to finish 8e of a Tour of Italy, the Luxembourger had ended up not really knowing which was the best string to his bow.
I can say that the past few months have been a roller coaster of emotions. But it’s nice to come back to the highest level! », Bob Jungels
In 2021, he followed the Tour in front of his television due to iliac endofibrosis requiring surgery. “But for a few weeks and my Tour de Suisse [6e du classement général]I felt like the form was back. » Except bad luck still had to have his cell number. During the presentation of the teams at the Tivoli garden in Copenhagen on June 29, he kept his hotel room after a positive test for Covid 19… following a first negative test.
Eventually his manager, Vincent Lavenu, didn’t have to ask Greg Van Avermaert to jump on the first plane to Denmark to replace the Grand Duchy runner, “very stressed” by this situation. But he had finished eating his black bread. “In the team, there were a lot of people who believed in me, who trusted me. I can say that the past few months have been a roller coaster of emotions. But it’s nice to come back to the highest level! », savored the one who thus offers the 21e stage victory on the Tour to Vincent Lavenu’s team.
The ordeal of the Covid tests
Jungels could approach the test of the swab in the nose with a certain detachment, this Sunday, after the stage. Tadej Pogacar (5e), he seemed more concerned by the threat of Covid-19 than by that, it is true, non-existent, during this first alpine stage, of the Jumbo-Visma and the Ineos Grenadiers.
“We take this situation very seriously.declared the yellow jersey the day after the forced departure of his teammate Vegard Laegen. We are alone in the rooms, we try to stay away as much as possible. I hope the peloton will really be spared. »
The results are expected by Tuesday morning in Morzine (Haute-Savoie). In a “covided” Tour de France for the third year, the race can also be lost during a rest day which will only be in name.
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