Marc Madiot admits he should've taken Thibaut Pinot out of racing earlier in 2020

Pinot has been suffering from back problems which were made worse at last year's Tour de France

Thibaut Pinot at the Tour of the Alps 2021
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/Getty Images)

Groupama-FDJ boss Marc Madiot has admitted that he should have stopped Thibaut Pinot from racing earlier last year after crashing on the opening stage of the Tour de France.

Pinot has been suffering from back problems that have seen him abandon the Giro d'Italia and the Tour de France in recent years after looking very strong. His crash at last year's Tour added to the issues too.

Madiot told Ouest-France (opens in new tab): "You know, what happened to him, if it had happened in any race other than the Tour de France, we wouldn't be in the situation we are today… He fell on the first stage of the Tour in Nice, in another event we would have stopped it the same day and we would not have put ourselves in the situation we are in today."

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Pinot went on in the race, losing time as he searched for a stage win from the breakaway before eventually abandoning.

"We should have stopped him earlier. But we did not have the elements of analysis at that time," Madiot continued. "We had done some tests on the first day of rest, but we couldn't identify what was really going on. 

"We had seen bruises, but that's it. If we had been able to investigate further, we would have told him to stop at the first stage of the Tour. But that's how it is, now let's try to restart and rebuild around the future."

Pinot, who has been seen as France's big hope to win the Tour de France, was set to ride at the Giro d'Italia this season with the team focusing on younger French climber David Gaudu along with French champion and sprinter Arnaud Démare for the Tour de France, but Pinot pulled out of the Giro after the Tour of the Alps where he struggled.

"He paid the consequences for many months. We shouldn't have let him put himself in that state," said Madiot. "It has often been said that Pinot had no mind, that he lacked this, that… But I take my hat off to him. He put himself in a state in which few people know how to put himself, on this Tour 2020. He hurt himself very badly, believe me."

Pinot isn't the only big general classification name to have issues with his back. Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) has also struggled with a recurring issue. The Colombian also abandoned the Tour with back problems but came back in 2021 to win the Giro d'Italia.

Madiot says that they are giving Pinot time to recover before they look at next seasons objective, whether that be the Tour, Giro of the Vuelta a España.

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Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!

I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.

It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.

After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.

When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.

My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.