At the foot of the cauldron of Geoffroy-Guichard, nobody wants to ignite in front of the Groupama-FDJ bus. And the first who would have risked singing "Who is the strongest? Obviously, Thibaut "would have been entitled to a red card from Julien Pinot, the brother and coach of the French champion.
Officially, the second place of Thibaut Pinot stage, allowing him to scratch 28 seconds, bonuses included, to Geraint Thomas holding, is just an event. "Guys, you have to calm down, throws with smile Philippe Mauduit the sports director of the team. It's a beautiful number, but we do not get carried away. Yet Pinot, he was not embarrassed to pack, surprise-pouch manner, the public being the only one to follow the predictable attack of Julian Alaphilippe in the coast of the Jaillère.
But hush, at Groupama-FDJ, we have the silent happiness lest he wake up and go for a ride elsewhere. The public's love of the bus seems to make you dizzy. As if dreaming too hard could burst the pillow. "The high mountain has not arrived yet, Julien Pinot asserts as a current of cold air in the heat of Forez. Let's stay balanced. "
Alaphilippe believes it, Guimard too
Thibaut Pinot tries to do in the copy-ice of his brother, but if his words are weighed, his eyes burn with a new excitement. The podium ? Think about it more and more, but never talk about it. "It was a weary day, but ultimately very good even without the victory," he says. In my plans, it was not intended that I attack. I'm at my level last year at the end of the season (when he won the Tour of Lombardy). I managed my preparation and I am confident for the future. I am the first of the favorites, but that does not mean much. Everything will change in the Pyrenees. At the same time, I would have been told that I will be 3rd after the 8th stage, I would have signed ".
Julian Alaphilippe, he does not have as much modesty to evoke the future of Pinot. "Win the Tour? He is in a very good position. I wish him, because it would be very good for French cycling. Nicolas Portal, the sports director of Ineos and the big favorites has the sense of the formula to talk about the opponents of Thomas (fallen this Saturday) and Bernal: "It is not only him, but for the moment there especially him … "
Cyrille Guimard, former coach of the French team and ex-mentor of Hinault or Fignon, explains that Pinot has changed since the Tour of Spain 2018: "His race behavior has changed, his authority is demonstrated. He is fulfilled. We have a Thibaut who does not ask any more questions. With him, Bernal and Thomas, I have the impression that the podium stands out. "