Groupama-FDJ promise to fight back in the 2019 Tour de France after Thibaut Pinot lost 1-40 minutes to top rival Geraint Thomas (Ineos).
The Frenchman was on the wrong side when the race split in echelons formed in the crosswinds heading towards Albi, finish host of stage 10.
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“We’ll get back to work, there are two weeks left and that’s a lot,” said Pinot’s team-mate Matthieu Ladagnous. “Tomorrow we will rest and then talk about it.”
Pinot lost time with others including Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo), Jakob Fuglsang (Team Astana) and Rigoberto Urán (EF Education First) when the break happened in the group at 35km to race.
Team Ineos and Deceuninck-Quick-Step drove the peloton and time into their rivals
“It was a tough day. There are times when you don’t have luck, we found ourselves a little behind at the wrong time,” Ladagnous added.
“We will come back! Losing 1-40 is silly but with all the mountains ahead, it is not that much either!”
Pinot would not speak, just saying, “It was a s****y day” at the finish line.
The Frenchman, third in the 2014 Tour de France, had led the virtual classification ahead of stage 10. He had 19 seconds on Thomas, but 24 hours later, he slid from third to 11th overall at 1-21 minutes behind Thomas.
“It’s a bad day,” agreed sports director Philippe Mauduit.
“But there are days when you miss out. We messed around a bit when we had to be there. The guys got a little lost and the move happened right then.
“This is not a problem of team cohesion but a moment of panic in the pack. Several favourites were trapped, it’s cycling.”
Thomas, sitting second, now leads the virtual classification the with four seconds on his team-mate Egan Bernal, 15 on Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma), 35 on Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), 52 on Nairo Quintana (Movistar Team). But there are two weeks remaining until the race ends in Paris.
“The story is not written yet, we will know in Paris what this means. The most difficult part of the Tour is left to tackle. We will take the time tomorrow to take stock together,” continued Mauduit.
“It is normal that Thibaut is disappointed and upset, but it is not the end of the Tour. Nothing is done, I guarantee you!”
After tomorrow’s rest day, the Tour continues with stage 11, a time trial in stage 13 and the big mountains, including the Tourmalet, still to come.