Thibaut Pinot will return to the Tour de France this year

The Frenchman is aiming to reach the podium again.

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Thibaut Pinot is planning to return to the Tour de France in 2022 after not racing any Grand Tours in 2021, his Groupama-FDJ team revealed on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old Frenchman is eyeing the podium at the Tour, a position he has achieved in the past, having ridden to third overall in 2014.

Pinot has dealt with frustrating injuries over the past few seasons. Into the last week of the 2019 Tour de France, he appeared to be one of the strongest riders in the race – but he ultimately abandoned entirely after sustaining a leg injury. The following year, he entered the Tour in good form after riding to second overall at the Critérium du Dauphiné, but crashed on the first stage, suffering a back injury that would bother him for more than a year.

Although he finished that year’s Tour, Pinot abandoned the subsequent Vuelta a España early on in the race and then did not make any three-week race starts in 2021.

Now, he has his sights set on returning to his home Grand Tour.

“I want to regain my level and win races,” Pinot said. “I want to be the rider again before I crashed in the 2020 Tour. The Tour de France will be the highlight of my season with this common goal: a podium on the Champs Elysées.”

Groupama-FDJ revealed that David Gaudu will also be a featured rider for the Tour, and the 25-year-old Frenchman also said that he is targeting the podium. Stefan Küng, Michael Storer, and Valentin Madouas are already slated to race the Tour as well.

Arnaud Démare, meanwhile, will lead the way for the team at the Giro d’Italia. A number of Démare’s greatest career success have come in Italy: The 30-year-old counts five Giro stage wins and a Monument win at Milan-San Remo on his career palmares.

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