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In an emotional outburst, the long-suffering Groupama-FDJ told La Chaîne L’Équipe that he desperately wanted to win the stage.
Instead, Colombian rider Miguel Ángel López darted past him for the victory, and Pinot trailed through seven seconds back.
“It would have done me good,” Pinot said as he fought through tears. “The last 10 kilometers I was thinking about the last two years I’ve been through. I’m still far from being at my level, because normally, at my level, no one catches up with me and that’s what’s frustrating.”
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Despite the encouraging ride, Pinot was inconsolable as he fought back tears of frustration after being reeled in by the chasers at the red kite in the mountaintop finale at Kals am Grossglockner in Austria.
The 31-year-old continues with health struggles that date back to the 2019 Tour de France, when he was forced to abandon late in the race when a podium spot or perhaps even more looked possible.
More than 1,000 days since Thibaut Pinot’s last win, in the 2018 Tour on the Col du Tourmalet. Hard to believe it’s been that long.
— Peter Cossins (@petercossins) April 21, 2022
In 2020, he crashed heavily in the opening stage of the Tour, and doggedly pushed on, but he later developed back problems that continue to plague him.
Pinot’s last pro win came with a stage in the 2019 Tour, and last year he did not race a grand tour.
“I would like to be able to smile again one day, but I’ll be patient,” the emotional Pinot said. “It’s another missed opportunity, we know that in the pros there aren’t many.
“We’ll see tomorrow and then next week [at Tour de Romandie], but it would have been good to win today, to turn this shitty page and move on.”
Despite initially hoping to race the Giro d’Italia, it appears the team is sending him back to the Tour de France this summer.”
« Ça fait chier parce que ça m’aurait fait du bien (…) j’aurais pu tourner cette page de merde et passer à autre chose »
— la chaine L’Équipe (@lachainelequipe) April 21, 2022