Thibaut Pinot was riding the Tour of his life before suffering from a knee injury that left him barely able to turn the pedals and forces him to step off his bike.
France saw its best opportunity to win a Tour since 1985 disappear before their eyes as Pinot was left distraught, sitting in a team car in the middle of the Alps.
“I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this. I don’t understand,” Pinot told L’Équipe. “I’ve done seven Tours and had four abandons, when on other races, I never abandon. It only happens on Grand Tours, even though they are my races.”
“To forget all this, all these struggles, only a win will do. A podium won’t suffice anymore,” Pinot said. “To forget all this, yes, I will need to win the Tour.”
“The pain got worse on the Col d’Izoard, it was already very bad. On the Col du Lautaret, I was pedalling on one leg. We were in the big ring, with the wind at our backs, forcing it, and that really, really hurt,”
“I was only waiting for one thing, and that was to get onto the Galibier itself, where we could go onto the little ring and climb more with suppleness.”
“In my head I was still solid. The muscle was still very warmed up. It was very sore, but I was getting through it,” Pinot said. “On one leg, I was there. But the descent was horrible. I couldn’t accelerate.”