Thibaut Pinot is out of yellow jersey contention at the 2020 Tour de France after being dropped early on the first day in the Pyrenees, saying “maybe this is a turning point in my career” after the stage.
The Frenchman has been suffering with back problems since crashing on the opening stage in Nice, after rain had made the roads slippery.
Since then, Pinot has been on the treatment table for physiotherapy for two hours a day after each stage, as Groupama-FDJ attempt to manage their rider’s lower back injury.
Despite their best efforts, Pinot was dropped from the GC group on the Port de Balès, with the Col de Peyresourde still ahead on the road.
“Pinot still has back problems. Obviously, he is having trouble chaining the stages in the mountains,” Groupama-FDJ boss Marc Madiot said while his rider was still out on the road.. “This is the race. It’s part of this job. You have to accept when things are less well.”
Pinot eventually rolled across the line in 64th place, having lost 25 minutes.
“I had so much pain in my back that I couldn’t pedal,” Pinot said he’d finished the stage.
“It’s a complicated year but I never thought about leaving the race. There are lots of complications for me right now. Maybe this is a major turning point in my career.”
It was a mixed day for French fans, after Julian Alaphilippe lost 18 minutes, going out on one last attack in the GC group, the Deceuninck – Quick-Step rider easily reeled back in by Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma).
Meanwhile, Nans Peters (Ag2r La Mondiale) took the stage, while his team-mate Romain Bardet moved up to fourth on GC, and Cofidis’ Guillaume Martin sits third.