Pino and Bardet find redemption in the Alps


There was a feeling after Thibaut Pino won the fourth stage of the Tour of the Alps pulled out of it recently the minute that he will take revenge.

In his post-race interview after the fourth stage he chewed wasps, spitting, angry that Miguel Angel Lopez had denied him a victory that would have stopped his return to form. It would be a boost of confidence to give the last piece of the puzzle to a rider who can often be accused of not having a head that matches his highest legs.

And so in the last fifth stage, he set off again in search of victory in the comeback, trying to finally break his 1007-day duck.

After a large group formed that broke away, Pino was on the right side of each selection until only the Frenchman and David de la Cruz of Astana were on the road. For 66 km the pair ran to the finish line, De la Cruz with his own point to prove without winning a year longer than Pino.

At the bottom of the final climb it seemed that the heart could be broken again as Pino suffered a mechanical blow. The mechanic hung out the back of the team car and was able to fix the problem. Then the Frenchman attacked, dropping his collaborator for a moment.

The Groupama-FDJ man tightened his shoes to the last mile, frowning at every fiber as he accelerated over the final blow to the line. His Spanish companion was empty, and so Pino raised his hands in the air, which was the first victory since that day on the Tourmalet for the 2019 Tour.

“Well, yes, it’s really a huge relief for me,” Pino said in a more moderate tone than yesterday’s emotions. “I had one idea, just to break away and win. With the rain I knew I had a chance, with the rain it was cold, these are conditions I really like. ”

“Nothing will happen to me today, it was mine. This is a special victory for me. “

However, the party is not over yet, as there were two races in one. Pel Bilbao’s slim lead in the race was attacked on the last hill before Ramon Bardet cut off the front, with the help of DSM teammate Timen Arensman. He corrected a two-second deficit in the overall standings to win the first stage of the race after the 2013 Tour de l’Aine, the only other victory in the stage race on his palmares, which also became his debut professional victory.

“For a long time they have been the future of French cycling,” Rob Hatch of Eurosport said in a comment to Pino and Bardet. “Today they are the present.”

“Thibault is back,” said his teammate on the Groupama-FDJ Michael Stor after the finish. Let’s hope so.

Pino and Bardet find redemption in the Alps

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