Already sporting the yellow leader’s jersey after winning the stage 2 time trial, Thibaut Pinot delivered another big performance Sunday in the Critérium International’s stage 3 finale to wrap up the general classification.
The 25-year-old Frenchman left everyone behind in the final two kilometers of the queen stage near the top of the Col de l’Ospedale climb to take the stage victory and seal his overall title. Leading the GC by two seconds at the start of the day, Pinot closed out the race with a 37-second overall lead to the next best finisher, French up-and-comer Pierre Roger Latour. Latour finished the queen stage as runner-up, seven seconds behind Pinot, while Pinot’s FDJ teammate Arnold Jeannesson took third on the day.
Giant-Alpecin neo-pro Sam Oomen nabbed the final spot on the GC podium.
Pinot, runner-up at the Critérium International in 2015, made sure to leave no doubt this time around, winning two of the event’s three stages.
On the final climb Sunday, Pinot bided his time in a select group as aggression from other riders helped close the gap to Latour up the road. He cagily followed attacks from the likes of Cannondale’s Lawson Craddock – who would ultimately finish sixth on GC – as last year’s Critérium International winner Jean-Christophe Peraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) faded from the front group.
Then Pinot launched a blistering attack of his own, quickly bridging to Latour and then leaving him in the rearview mirror inside the final 2km.
From there he was uncatchable, finishing the day the clear stage victor and the clear overall winner. Peraud, meanwhile, tumbled out of the top 10, finishing the race a distant 17th.