Thibaut Pinot will tackle the Tour de France again in 2022

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Thibaut Pinot will return to the Tour de France for the first time since 2020 this year, sprinter Arnaud Démare heading to the place of the Giro d’Italia.

Groupama-FDJ announced its Tour and Giro leaders on Wednesday during a team presentation, where a large part of the Tour’s workforce was also unveiled.

Alongside Pinot, who won three stages of the Tour and finished third in 2014, will be David Gaudu, Stefan Küng, Valentin Madouas and new recruit Michael Storer.

The Frenchman withdrew from the 2020 race after falling heavily in the first week, which exacerbated a back injury that has plagued him ever since. He didn’t take part in any of the grand tours last year, having only taken part in 38 days of racing.

In 2019, he appeared to be a serious contender for the overall race classification before innocently injuring his knee; he was 1h50 behind the leader of the race Julian Alaphilippe with a stage victory already in his pocket when he abandoned stage 19. Pinot hopes to be back at his best for this year’s race, which will start in Copenhagen on July 1.

“I want to get back to my level and win races,” he said. I want to become a runner again before I fall on the 2020 Tour. The Tour de France will be the highlight of my season with this common goal: a podium on the Champs Élysées. “

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Pinot will be joined by Gaudu, who finished 11th in the 2021 Tour. The duo will vie for leadership with Storer, the Australian who joined DSM this winter.

Team boss Marc Madiot said: “For the Tour de France, we are going to start with extremely high ambitions. We want to fight for the podium …

“We are six months away from the Tour, and it will be the evolution of the riders’ physical condition, as well as the circumstances of the race, that will influence things. I cannot say at the moment who will be the main leader. . “

On Storer, the Frenchman said: “We’ll see how the race goes, but from what we’ve seen of him in the mountains, especially at the Vuelta, he can be taken into consideration.”

The Australian won two stages of the Vuelta a España and the mountain classification last year.

“First and foremost, the team is built around David and Thibaut,” Madiot continued. “But when you look at the overall standings for the last few years, okay Pogacar won, but when you look at some of the guys below him how many would you have put on the podium or in the top five six months ago? ? “

Gaudu has ambitions to finish higher in the overall standings this year, with the 25-year-old also expressing a desire to finish on the podium.

“I want to turn the top ten into top five, the top five into podiums and the podiums into wins,” he said. “The Tour de France will be the main objective of my season, I am leaving with the team to aim for the podium in the general classification.”

At the Giro, Démare will aim for sprint victories, four of which he won in 2020 with the points jersey. He will be joined by Attila Valter, who aims to impress again after spending time in the pink jersey last year. The race starts in Budapest, and Hungarian runners have spoken of his desire to impress on the roads of the house.

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