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Tour de France

Thibaut Pinot rises ahead of Tour de France: ‘I just want to win races, the rest doesn’t matter’

Pinot finds form and confidence with Tour de Suisse win as he zeroes in on Tour de France push with David Gaudu.

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Thibaut Pinot stormed back into the winner’s circle with his biggest victory in nearly three years as he zeroes in on the Tour de France.

Pinot reeled in his breakaway rivals to score a stunning solo victory at the Tour de Suisse on Saturday, hitting form and finding confidence at just the right time.

“I’m still here to win, I’m more comfortable than before my crash in the Tour de France in 2019. I just want to win races, the rest doesn’t matter,” Pinot said at the finish Saturday. “You have to believe in it.”

Groupama-FDJ captain Pinot returned to the frame with his first victory since the 2019 Tour when he won the final stage of Tour of the Alps this spring.  A big week at Tour de Romandie last month carried the momentum.

“I came to the Tour de Suisse for this, to live this kind of stage. This victory means a lot,” he said. “Winning here confirms all the work done since the start of the season. It is also very good ahead of the Tour de France, and it will allow me to get there with a certain peace of mind.”

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Anticipation is high for Pinot’s return to the Tour next month.

The Frenchman lit up his home race in 2019. Stage victory on the historic Tourmalet summit put Pinot on track for something big in the overall before he emotionally abandoned on stage 19 as Paris loomed on the horizon.

A crash-crushed 2020 Tour gave way to a season in the wilderness as Pinot struggled with injury and doubt.

“Inevitably, we’re less than 15 days from the Tour now, expectations are going to be high,” Pinot said at the line in Malbun. “I have confidence in myself, I will rest well.”

Pinot will share Tour de France leadership with 25-year-old David Gaudu this summer. The two are committed to racing for the team, rather than the individual.

“The goal at the Tour will be to be not far from the podium with the rider who will be designated leader by the team, and to win stage victories,” Pinot said.

As Pinot said himself, expectations will be high.