Tour de France - 17e étape - Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ), moral à zéro : "Je suis mauvais"

Tour de France – 17e étape – Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ), moral à zéro : “Je suis mauvais”


Did Thibaut Pinot believe it? We do, a little. But not a lot. And not for long. The Franc-Comtois had decided to try his luck on Wednesday during the 17th stage, the second in the Pyrenees. From the foot of the Col d’Aspin, he set off with Alexey Lutsenko. But from the third difficulty of the day, the Col d’Azet Val Louron, it was all over. Pinot disappeared from circulation to end up coasting, more than 11 minutes from the Pogacar-Vingegaard duo, which is evolving in a dimension of its own.

Unfortunately, it was not the day to take the breakaway. Pinot and his brief fellow rider saw their maximum lead peak around minute forty-five. Pogacar wanted to win on Wednesday. From then on, the fight was futile and unequal. But even if the fugitives would have benefited from a slightly larger margin, not sure that would have been enough to allow the Groupama – FDJ climber to aim for victory at Peyragudes. The interested party is even more or less convinced of the contrary. Question of skills of the moment. But on such a course, weakness is not forgiven.

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I’m bad, I’m not good, I couldn’t do anything, I’m disappointed“, summed up Pinot, showing himself to be ruthless with himself. He has come a long way, after months and months of hardship and we would like to tell him that, ultimately, what he produces in this Tour that he will probably finish in the top twenty, is far from dishonorable.

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I feel that I bring nothing to the team

He tried on this Tour, did not go so far in Châtel (3rd on the stage), and was not so bad in Mende (4th). But when we triumphed at Alpe d’Huez, at the Tourmalet, when we knew the podium in Paris and even dreamed of the yellow jersey, these three weeks of summer 2022 are akin to a vast disappointment. “There are a lot of things missing, I’m so far from my level. It’s really disappointing“, he concedes.

Once the yellow jersey group took over, and the life expectancy of the breakaway was reduced so far from the finish, Pinot dropped out to lend a hand to its leader David Gaudu. But it was not of much help to him. “I tried to give David a hand. I had one mini cartridge left to get into a small group but that’s it, he regrets, before self-flagellating himself again: “Personally, it’s complicated and I feel that I don’t bring anything to the team, so for me it’s hard.”

Leaving Copenhagen, Thibaut Pinot oscillated between two roles. That of the maverick capable of seeking prestigious stages, and that of “Guardian Angel” for David Gaudu, to use the expression used by the manager of the Groupama – FDJ team, Marc Madiot. But reality reminded us how little intentions weigh when the legs do not follow. The former winner of the Tour of Lombardy did not have the means to effectively occupy one or the other of these functions. It still has one stage, that of Hautacam on Thursday, to try to save what can be saved. But because he is no longer old enough to believe in miracles, he believes in them moderately.

Thibaut Pinot, in the wheel of Alexey Lutsenko, in the lead during the 17th stage of the Tour de France – 07/20/2022

Credit: Getty Images

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