Thibaut Pinot was left heartbroken, close to tears and bitterly disappointed after being caught and dropped by Miguel Angel Lopez in the final kilometre of the Kals am Grossglockner mountain finish at the Tour of the Alps.
Pinot has not won a race since conquering the Col du Tourmalet at the 2019 Tour de France. He was forced out of that year’s race on stage 19 after a muscle problem and then his crash in the 2020 race and subsequent back pain wrecked much of his 2021 season.
Pinot seemed set to turn that record around and sweep away thoughts of all his difficulties with a solo attack from the day’s breakaway on the 12km Kals am Grossglockner. His move looked sure to end in victory but Lopez caught him and attacked him in the final kilometre, plunging the Frenchman into despair.
Beyond the finish line, Pinot held onto the barriers trying to catch his breath and overcome the disappointment of defeat. He then slumped to the floor and sat in silence for several minutes, struggling to hold back his emotions.
The first question about his defeat saw him turn away in tears.
“It pisses me off,” he said angrily after walking away in desperation before returning to the microphones and cameras.
“It pisses me off because it would have been good for me after the last two years I’ve been through.
“At my normal level, nobody would have caught up with me there, that’s what’s frustrating. I wish life would smile on me for one day but I have to be patient.”
Pinot has ridden a series of stage races so far in 2022, each one boosting his morale and ambitions. Victory would have meant so much to him.
“It would have done me good to win today. I could have turned that shitty page and moved on to something else,” he said, trying to find some comfort and enthusiasm for the future from his performance.
“It was another good chance to win and there aren’t many as a pro. We’ll see, we’ll see if it can happen tomorrow and in the coming weeks.”
« Ça fait chier parce que ça m’aurait fait du bien (…) j’aurais pu tourner cette page de merde et passer à autre chose »💬 L’émotion de Thibaut Pinot après sa 2e place sur la 4e étape du Tour des Alpes #lequipeVELO pic.twitter.com/F1QT0o2tnVApril 21, 2022