As well as picking up a historic stage win at the summit finish of the Tourmalet, a feature that has now only occurred three times in the Tour de France’s history, Thibaut Pinot picked up a second, albeit admittedly less important prize.
The Groupama-FDJ rider stuck with the front group of GC contenders before springing ahead with 250m to go to take the victory on stage 14, announcing that he’s down but not out in the fight for the yellow jersey.
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This phenomenal effort saw him take the Strava KoM on the Tourmalet, defending the record he set on the climb at the Tour in 2016. That day Pinot had attacked as part of a breakaway alongside Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma) and Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) until they were eventually reeled in as Chris Froome attacked on the descent to take the stage win and overall race lead.
The Tourmalet is 19km long with an average gradient of seven per cent, reaching an elevation of 2,017m.
Pinot scaled the climb in 51-13 at an average speed of 22.2km/h, eight seconds quicker than Steven Kruijswijk (Jumbo-Visma) who finished third on the stage, two seconds behind race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step).
In third place is French road race champion Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic), who finished a further 29 seconds back from Kruijswijk after attempting to spring from the leading group halfway up the climb in search of glory.
Two of Kruijswijk’s key mountain lieutenants, George Bennett and Laurens De Plus, round out the top five, recording times of 52-13 and 52-31 respectively. Bennett’s data also provides power data, showing the New Zealander averaged 329 watts during his effort.
Pinot said after the stage that he considered his victory “revenge” after the “injustice” of losing 1-40 on stage ten in the crosswinds, with Ineos and Alaphilippe forcing the split that caught out a number of GC contenders.
The 29-year-old crossed the line in tears on that day, dropping out of the top 10 on GC. After his heroics on the Tourmalet he rose back up to sixth place, 1-10 down on Geraint Thomas (Ineos) and 3-12 behind Alaphilippe.
The Frenchman appears to be one of if not the strongest climber at the 2019 edition of the Tour, and will be looking to claw back further time with a number of high mountain stages still to come.