Thibaut Pinot finished second to French compatriot Alexis Vuillermoz in the Olympic test event, but hopes to go one better next August

In spite of the fact that the Tour de France remains FDJ rider Thibaut Pinot’s principal target for 2016, the Frenchman admitted that the Rio Olympic Games road race on August 6 is another race that he aims to perform well in.

Pinot took part in the ‘practice’ event held on the course around the Brazilian city this summer, where he finished second to Ag2r La Mondiale’s Alexis Vuillermoz, but he was quick to cite the Olympics as a serious target.

Speaking at a pre-Christmas FDJ training camp this week in Calpe, Spain, Pinot said: “Absolutely, yes it is a race I’d love to win. It’s hard to assess an Olympic course before you have raced on it, because in the run-up you hear all sorts of things.

“I had been told that it was hard, that it was a sort of Liège-Bastogne-Liège type of race, but it’s a lot harder than that, it’s probably closer to the Tour of Lombardy, but in any case it’s a real climbers’ course.

“When you consider that the longest climbs in Liège are maybe three kilometers long, well, the final climb in Rio is nearer seven kilometers, so it’s a really tough course, a good course for me, I was pleasantly surprised!”

Pinot will face tough competition for an Olympic medal, with the likes of Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, Alejandro Valverde and Alberto Contador also targeting the race.