Unless he achieves an exceptional last season, Thibaut Pinot will be classified among the French sportsmen who have come very close to great exploits without ever achieving them. The 32-year-old Franc-Comtois runner announces, Thursday, January 12, in an interview with The Teamthat he will end his professional career at the end of 2023.
Professional from 2010, man of a single team, the Française des jeux managed by Marc Madiot, which became Groupama-FDJ, Thibaut Pinot came very close to a victory in the general classification of the Tour de France in 2019, which no tricolor rider has managed to do since Bernard Hinault, in 1985. That year, dominating in the mountain stages, he got closer every day to the yellow jersey, worn by the Colombian Egan Bernal, before a muscular problem in the thigh forced him to give up two days before the arrival of the Grande Boucle in Paris.
Tour of Lombardy 2018
But it is also on the Tour de France that Thibaut Pinot experienced some of his greatest joy as a cyclist. In 2012, at the age of 22, he made a name for himself by winning the 8e stage, in his native region, between Belfort and Porrentruy (Switzerland). Three years later, he raises his arms at the end of the 20e stage, at the top of Alpe-d’Huez (Isère), a prestigious victory rewarding his qualities as a climber. In 2019, before his cruel abandonment, the Frenchman had demonstrated his superiority over his opponents by winning at the top of the Tourmalet, in the Hautes-Pyrénées.
Depending on the years, his mood and his state of form, Pinot said he was both attracted and repelled by the great barnum of the Tour de France. On the other hand, he has always been constant in expressing his love for the atmosphere of Italian cycle racing. Thus, his victory at the end of the 2018 season at the Tour of Lombardy, ahead of the Italian Vincenzo Nibali, a rider he admired, is undoubtedly the one that delighted him the most.
But, in Italy as in France, Pinot also experienced cruel disappointments. In 2018, 3e of the general classification of the Tour at the start of the penultimate stage, he experienced a major physical failure, lost more than forty-five minutes, all his hopes of a podium and ended the day in hospital with pneumonia.
2023, enjoy, give everything to regret nothing. @groupamafdj @groupama @fdj https://t.co/0RqZqjtPvi
Another great misfortune of the Franc-Comtois was undoubtedly having to face certain doped opponents. “How many times have I done 2e or 3e knowing full well, or suspecting myself strongly, that in fact the victory was mine…”he says in his interview with The Team. And to add: “I always said to myself that a doped guy might train less hard than me, that I could compensate by going further in the pain. »
In 2021, in an interview with the sports daily, Pinot had denounced the use of ketones and corticosteroids within the professional peloton. Today, the runner explains that he has not received any ” support “ after this intervention. “No call, no onehe says. I thought I would be a little bit more supported, especially by the guys on my team. This is also why I can leave this environment without regrets. »
This Thursday at The TeamThibaut Pinot said to be “ready for real life” and happy to announce ” early “ his retirement from sport, even before the start of the season. “When I run, we’ll know it’s the last time, before I go and bury myself in my hole”, he believes. The Frenchman plans to participate in the Giro this year (6 to 28 May), then hopes to be on the roads of the Tour (1er to July 23) and compete in his last Tour of Lombardy, at the end of October.
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