French climbers Thibaut Pinot and David Gaudu are high away in the French Alps as they put the finishing touches on their condition prior to their return to racing. While their Groupama-FDJ team is divided into three camps, Pinot and Gaudu are in La Giettaz, a small village in the northern Alps of France.
Joining them are other likely Tour de France teammates Rudy Molard, Sébastien Reichenbach, Valentin Madouas, Stefan Küng, William Bonnet, Antoine Duchesne, Matthieu Ladagnous and Tobias Ludvigsson.
Like most WorldTour teams, Groupama-FDJ has divided the team into small groups in accordance with new recommended sanitary measures as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sprinters like Arnaud Démare and Marc Sarreau are in Le Grand-Bornand, while another group of riders including former French national champion Anthony Roux are in Morzine.
While in the Alps, Pinot and his teammates will recon certain stages for the upcoming Critérium du Dauphiné as well as doing intensity work to prepare them for the first races in August.
“Some have already been riding a lot in the mountains,” Julien Pinot, Thibaut’s brother and team trainer, told Cyclismactu.net. “Thibaut was in the Alps for 10 days. The idea is also to get the group of climbers together and increase the volume and intensity of work in the mountains. It is basically the last big block of work before we return to racing.”
“I won’t know until I get to the camp myself, but Thibaut is right on track I think,” Marc Madiot, the team’s general director, told VeloNews Wednesday while driving down to the camp from Paris. “He has already been training a lot in the Alps and is in a good place.”
Pinot is one of the top outsiders for the Tour de France this year and his true potential remains unknown. Just last year in the Tour, he won the summit finish atop the Tourmalet and was generally considered the best climber in the Pyrénées, but he was forced to abandon in the Alps. While he may not be on one of the Tour’s biggest powerhouse teams, the 30-year-old remains an explosive climber that can create real surprises in the Tour.
Pinot will make his return to racing at the Route d’Occitanie from August 1-4 before racing the Critérium du Dauphiné August 12-16.