Having seen his GC ambitions vanish on the Port de Balès on Saturday due to ongoing back pain from a crash on the race’s opening stage, Groupama-FDJ’s leader is feeling brighter after a day on the couch and a medical all-clear.
“[The rest day] did me good,” Pinot told Le Parisien on Tuesday. “It was the first time that I did not ride a bike, though I am still a little anxious about my back. I finished Sunday’s stage as best I could, but it is rather persistent as an injury and I am told I still need a few days.”
Having shed 25 minutes on the high slopes of the Bales on Saturday, Pinot rallied Sunday to make a short-lived attack on the first major climb of the day, before again flaming out a finishing 10 minutes behind stage-winner Tadej Pogačar.
Stating he was in “so much pain he couldn’t pedal” over the weekend, Pinot breathed a sigh of relief Monday to have not just his COVID check come back clear, but also the results of an MRI scan, which showed his back was free of fractures.
With a rest day and series of sprint stages marking the opening half of this week at the Tour, Pinot is looking to take every pedal-stroke as easy as possible to nurse a bruised and inflamed sacrum with the hopes of going out of the Tour with a victory in the Alps.
“I must try to force as little as possible this week to be completely healed for Sunday at the Grand Colombier,” Pinot said. “The goal is to get a stage and, for that, my back must not be hurt. If not for this week, I really hope for the third week everything will be fine.”