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The Groupama-FDJ star said the team’s goal is to take aim for the final podium in Paris, and right now team boss Marc Madiot has yet to finalize the Tour squad.
After battling through injury and setbacks, Pinot is expected to return to the Tour this summer, and will likely be sharing leadership duties with Gaudu.
“Marc Madiot’s objectives are to go for a podium in the general classification and if I am the team leader, I would go for what the team announced at the start of the season,” Gaudu told L’Équipe. “There will be no war of egos.”
Gaudu won a stage at the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, but faded from sixth to 17th in the final mountain stage behind the might of Jumbo-Visma.
Pinot is racing the Tour de Suisse this week, and won his first race since the 2019 Tour during the Tour of the Alps in April.
Pinot pulled out of the 2019 Tour in tears, and crashed early in the 2020 Tour and suffered through the race to finish 29th. He skipped the Tour and did not race a grand tour last year, and the team is hoping he’s back at his best in time for a run at the podium in July.
The 25-year-old Gaudu is seen as a rising star in France, and finished a career-best 11th in last year’s Tour.
Speaking to L’Equipe, Gaudu said he and Pinot can share leadership duties without tension.
“It will be natural, we won’t even need to talk about it,” Gaudu said. “If, for example, that on the cobblestone stage one of us goes well, or that one of between us finds himself playing for the podium like Ben O’Connor last year, we will bet everything on this person in general.”
Madiot said he will finalize the team’s Tour selection after the Tour de Suisse. Other starters include Stefan Küng and Michael Storer, who finished third this week at the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge.
▪️ Michael Storer sur le podium au sommet du Ventoux
▪️ Franck Pineau : «Michael commence à montrer son vrai niveau»
▪️ Michael : «C’était mon premier Ventoux, j’ai réalisé pourquoi c’est un lieu si spécial»
— Équipe Cycliste Groupama-FDJ (@GroupamaFDJ) June 14, 2022
Gaudu said the job is more or less the same if he’s a co-leader or stage-hunter.
“We are both hard workers,” Gaudu said. “To be his lieutenant and win stages or to be the leader, the work is the same. It’s just during the race that it will be different and that you will have to adapt to the role that is assigned to you.”