Third in the 2014 Tour de France, Thibaut Pinot then aroused in some the mad hope of having found Bernard Hinault’s successor. A big mistake, according to Bernard Lions.
A living legend of French cycling, Bernard Hinault has left his mark on the history of the Tour de France. Winner of the event five times, the “Badger” then never found a French successor at his level. Despite Laurent Fignon, Laurent Jalabert and other Julian Alaphilippe, spectators are still waiting for a champion of this caliber. So when Thibaut Pinot revealed himself in 2014 on the roads of the Tour by finishing third in the event, what’s more with the white jersey of the best young rider on his back, the wildest hopes resurfaced. Without being fulfilled. For some, the initial analysis about Thibaut Pinot was simply not the right one.
Journalist at The Team Bernard Lions gave his point of view on the subject. ” In 2014, when he finished with the white jersey, we said to ourselves ‘we may have our new Bernard Hinault’. From that moment, and for a decade, and that’s why I say that there is a misunderstanding with Thibaut Pinot, we judge him from that prism. That is to say that we try to put him at the level of Bernard Hinault’s equal. No. He is someone who is a formidable champion, who has won, he has won (three) stages of the Tour, the Tour of Lombardy. He entered the hearts of people, he is a formidable champion, but he is not a great champion because he was not able to win one of the Grand Tours. »
One last round?
Currently engaged in the Tour of Italy, Thibaut Pinot occupies seventh place overall, four minutes and forty-three seconds behind the leader, Geraint Thomas. While he announced that he would end his career as a professional cyclist at the end of the current season, the Groupama-FDJ rider hopes to be able to participate in the Tour de France one last time. Waiting for his manager (Marc Madiot) to give him the green light, Thibaut Pinot will seek to mark his history and that of tricolor cycling. In his way.