BRIOUDE, France (Reuters) – Thibaut Pinot is heading into the second week of the Tour de France as the best placed of the pre-race favorites but his Groupama-FDJ team manager knows there is still a long way to go.
“We just had the aperitif. There’s still the main course and the cheese left,” Marc Madiot told reporters on Sunday.
Stages - Race - Mountains - Time - Trial
“It’s quite simple: we’re nine stages into the race, we have not been through the high mountains and there is one individual time trial left, so come see me in 10 days,” he said when asked if Pinot, a podium finisher in 2014, could win the Tour.
No Frenchman has won the Tour since Bernard Hinault claimed the last of his five titles in 1985 and the home-grown riders struggled to be contenders for the title during the drug-ravaged era from the mid-1990s to the late 2000s.
Pinot - Seconds - Compatriot - Julian - Alaphilippe
But now Pinot is third overall, 53 seconds behind compatriot Julian Alaphilippe, and ahead of defending champion Welshman Geraint Thomas and his Ineos team mate Colombian Egan Bernal, after a perfectly timed attack in the finale of Saturday’s eighth stage saw him gain almost half a minute over his main...
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