Thibaut Pinot is positive about his chances in this year’s Tour de France. French newspaper L'Equipe added French cyclist Pinot’s name to the Big Four – Froome, Contador, Quintana and Nibali, after his third place finish in the 2014 Tour and his impressive form in the Tour de Suisse.
Pinot found solace in revival of his form at last year’s tour after a taxing season in 2013.
“My third place last year gave me confidence,” he said in an interview to the Reuters news agency. “When you're third in the Tour you belong in the front of the peloton, this is something I forced into my head.”
He made it to the Top 10 at the Tour de France in 2012 on his debut, which labelled him as a genuine Grand Tour contender.
His fear of descents caused by a serious crash a few years back, that saw him left almost paralysed, had led to his downfall. Pinot has worked hard to deal with his fears and came up to the seventh place at the 2013 Vuelta in Yorkshire.
Pinot found himself in close competition with fellow Frenchman Romain Bardet for the young rider’s classification. Bardet’s Ag2r-La Mondiale team piled pressure on the descents, with reference to his weakness, but young Pinot was unmoved.
Pinot commented on this move and stated that it was a sign of weakness and it only angered him.
“The fact they tried to hurt me in the descent was a sign of weakness from them, it just showed they were unable to drop me in the climbs," he said. "What they did gave me a boost. I was angry,” said Pinot in the same interview.
The cyclist will have the home advantage as he serves out pain to his rivals.
“What he strives for is fighting with the top guns in the mountains. Winner or loser, that's what he loves. In these cases he's like Don Quixote, he's not scared of them,” Pinot’s FDJ boss Marc Madiot explained to Reuters. “He's got character, there are conflicts with him. Sometimes I yell at him, sometimes he yells at me but it's always quickly forgotten.”
“I get my kicks from hurting the others.”
With the crowd support, the aggressive rider is a clear favourite going into the race.Published 30 Jun 2015, 22:13 IST