Pinot rides to a dominant victory in the French Championships
Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) confirmed his huge progress as a time triallist by riding to a dominant victory in the French Championships.
Pinot was the 9th last rider down the ramp and it was soon clear that he was on a good day. He passed the first time check at the 7km mark in the fastest time but he still had to wait for the arrival of pre-race favourites Jerome Coppel and Sylvain Chavanel to find out whether he was in medal contention. Unsurprisingly, the specialists went faster in the first flat part as Coppel was 11 seconds better than the FDJ leader while Chavanel was just one second behind the Worlds bronze medallist in second.
The terrain got significantly harder in the next section but both Coppel and Chavanel maintained the speed. At the second time check, Coppel was still in the lead with a 6-second advantage over Chavanel, with Pinot still 11 seconds behind in third.
However, unlike the two former champions, Pinot had gauged his effort really well and he made the difference in the third section. When everybody had passed the third time check, the FDJ leader was 21 seconds faster than Coppel and 48 seconds faster than Chavanel. In fact, the two specialists were also losing ground to Anthony Roux and Tony Gallopin who were now threatening to push them off the podium.
Gallopin had been the leader for some time when Pinot arrived at the finishing straight and it was clear that he had maintained his speed. He stopped the clock in a time that was 1.18 faster the Lotto Soudal rider, having gained 23 seconds on his rival in the final part.
Crossing the line with a time loss of 1.37, Chavanel posted the provisional fourth best time and things were not much better for Coppel who was 16 seconds faster to push the Direct Energie rider into fifth. The result saw both miss out on a medal as Coppel was 3 seconds slower than Gallopin.
Last year’s runner-up Stephane Rossetto (Cofidis) had to settle for sixth while Johan Le Bon and Jeremy Roy made it four FDJ riders in the top 8. Pierre Latour (Ag2r) confirmed his talent by taking a solid 10th place.