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Thibaut Pinot to return to Tour de France in 2022, Arnaud Démare to ride Giro d’Italia

Pinot will be joined by David Gaudu, Stefan Küng and Michael Storer at the Tour, Démare and Attila Valter go to the Giro as Groupama-FDJ sets schedules.

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Thibaut Pinot is headed to the Tour de France for the first time in two years.

Groupama-FDJ confirmed Tuesday that Pinot would be back at the French grand tour for the first time since 2020. He suffered with back pain throughout the race following a big crash on the first week, an injury that would subsequently force him out of the Vuelta a España.

Pinot did not ride any grand tours in 2021 and contested just 38 race days as he tried to recover from the back injury. When he arrives in Copenhagen for the start of this year’s Tour de France, he will hope that he has put his injury woes behind him.

“I want to regain my level and win races. I want to become the rider again before my fall on the Tour 2020. The Tour de France will be the highlight of my season with this common goal: a podium on the Champs-Élysées,” he said.

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Pinot has endured several years of bad luck at grand tours. He abandoned on the penultimate day of the 2018 Giro d’Italia with an injury and left the 2019 Tour de France early, both while in contention for a strong GC finish.

“I hope to be inflicting the pain on others,” Pinot said in an interview with French daily Ouest-France last week. “I hope to be raising my arms again in victory.”

He will be joined at the Tour de France by last year’s 11th place finisher David Gaudu, Stefan Küng — who is targeting yellow in the opening time trial — Valentin Madouas, and new signing Michael Storer, who won two stages of the 2021 Vuelta a España.

“I want to transform the top 10 into top 5, the top 5 into podiums, and the podiums into victories. The Tour de France will be the major goal of my season, I’m going with the team to aim for the podium in the general classification,” Gaudu said.

Groupama-FDJ also confirmed that it would be sending Arnaud Démare and Attila Valter to the Giro d’Italia in 2022. Valter was one of the revelations of last year’s Giro d’Italia with his stint in the pink jersey and 14th place finish.

Démare will be hoping to put the bad memories of the 2021 Tour de France behind him with a strong performance in Italy. The sprinter was caught up in a crash during the opening stages of the French grand tour and managed a best finish of fourth before he was eliminated from the race on stage 9 due to missing the time cut.

Démare last rode the Giro d’Italia in 2020, where he won four stages and the points classification.