07:29 31 Jul 2019
French rider Thibaut Pinot has said that in order to fully get over the disappointment of abandoning this year’s Tour de France, he will need to win the race in the future.
The 29-year-old was very much in contention to win this year’s TDF right up until he was forced to withdraw from the event on stage 19 with a thigh injury.
It was Pinot’s fourth abandonment in seven Tour participations, and he also withdrew from the 2018 Giro d’Italia through illness on the penultimate stage when a place on the podium seemed all but assured.
“I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this. I don’t understand,” Pinot told L’Équipe. “I’ve done seven Tours and had four abandons, when on other races, I never abandon. It only happens on Grand Tours, even though they are my races.”
He added, “To forget all this, all these struggles, only a win will do. A podium won’t suffice anymore. To forget all this, yes, I will need to win the Tour.”
Asked by Le Monde if he would have been able to follow champion Egan Bernal were it not for the injury, Pinot said: “We’ll never know, and I don’t want to ask myself that question. I was on one leg, that’s all.”
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Intense physiotherapy ahead of stage 19 could do little to improve the situation, and the Frenchman abandoned in tears barely 30km into the stage.
“I had the impression that I was reliving exactly what I went though last year on the Giro,” Pinot told L’Équipe.
“Everything collapsed like a house of cards, in one kilometre, everything that we had built over the season… Even everything I had rebuilt since the Giro, everything was dismantled once again. I was devastated.”
Asked by Le Monde if his injury was a psychological one, Pinot said: “I don’t think so. When I get ill at the end of a Grand Tour, maybe it’s precisely because I’m stressed about falling ill.
“But here, I was sure of myself. During the rest day after the Pyrenees, I wasn’t tired, I had no muscular pain. I was fresh physically and mentally. There was nothing psychological about it, no.
“For me, it’s destiny, and I’m taking it like that. In my head, I was impatient to get to the Alps. I had no fear.
“Maybe Egan Bernal would have been stronger, but I was ahead of him on GC and I don’t see why three days after Prat d’Albis my condition would have been less good. I was ready.”