While most riders will have kicked off their 2018 seasons at the Tour Down Under or the Vuelta a San Luis, or are preparing to get things underway at one of a number of European races, Thibaut Pinot is taking a rather different approach.
Instead of starting 2018 on two wheels, the Frenchman will be on two skis as he takes part in the 56km Transjurassienne cross country skiing race on Saturday.
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Pinot has been on two training camps to Calpe in Spain and Toulon in the south of France so far this year, but has also spent a significant amount of time cross country skiing in the Alps and near his home south of the Vosges mountains in the east of France.
The race will start in Les Rousses, which hosted the finish of stage eight of the 2017 Tour de France, covering 56km through the Jura mountains to the finish in Mouthe.
Pinot is one of 4,000 taking part in events over the weekend, and will be up against the likes of former Formula One driver Romain Grosjean. Unfortunately the race organisers have managed to spell Pinot’s name wrong, calling him Thibaud instead Thibaut.
Pinot is far from the only rider to stay in shape over the winter with a bit of cross country skiing, with the sport appearing to be particularly popular among French riders.
Jerome Coppel, a former French time trial champion, grew up wanting to be a professional cross country skier, only using the bike as a way to prepare for the skiing season over the summer, while Romain Bardet has also been doing a bit of ski de fond over the last few months, including taking part in an exhibition race as part of a Biathlon World Cup event at Le Grand Bornard shortly before Christmas.
Back on the road, Pinot’s first race on a bike will be the Tour du Haut Var, which starts on February 17.