After the upsetting scenes when France’s great hope for their first Tour de France win since 1985 climbed into the back of his team car just as he was about to launch his assault on the overall classification, Thibaut Pinot is making up for lost time.
The stars have aligned next year for riders inclined to going up hills, as alongside a gradient-laden Tour mountainous courses have been chosen for both the Olympic road race and the UCI Road World Championships in Switzerland.
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Pinot could try and win all three.
At least according to Groupama-FDJ sports director Philippe Mauduit, who says the French rider and his trade team are already discussing how he could prepare himself for all three.
“We have already mentioned it, but we are talking about things that will happen in eight, nine months. Obviously we must think about it, but we will talk a little more during the off-season,” Mauduit told Cyclism’Actu.
“Anyway, these are not the races of the Groupama-FDJ team but they are the races of the team of France, we do not make the selection. After that it is obvious that we will not put a spoke in the wheels of our runners, the Olympic Games and the Worlds, it is important in a career.
“Wearing the jersey of the French team and to have a chance to win a medal, it’s huge, so of course that our team will support him to put the odds on his side. But again, we are not the ones making the selection.”
You would imagine if Pinot indeed intends to take on both the Olympic and Worlds road races, French national team selectors won’t stand in the way of the 2018 Il Lombardia winner.
While Pinot ended his 2019 season early after the disappointment of the Tour, the 29-year-old took some time off before resuming training to make sure he was ready to go one step better in 2020.
And has he re-found the form that saw him win a summit finish up the Tourmalet this year?
“Yes that’s obvious,” Mauduit said. “There is really no doubt because Thibaut has that strength. He has the character of the greatest, the character of champions that allows him to rebound after each difficult moment.”
This attitude is what sets Pinot apart, his coach says, and there is no doubt that Groupama-FDJ are confident their rider will be able to achieve in 2020, no matter how many major goals he sets himself.
“This is what makes the difference between riders who are able to win races of very, very high level and others,” Mauduit said. “It is this strength of character that pushes them to always question themselves and to always go further. To achieve their goals.”