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: "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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