Tour de France 2022 – David Gaudu “sole leader” of Groupama-FDJ, Thibaut Pinot his “guardian angel”

Tour de France 2022 - David Gaudu "sole leader" of Groupama-FDJ, Thibaut Pinot his "guardian angel"

No pretense, no bluff, Marc Madiot knows how to speak frankly when the moment calls for it. Two days before the time trial in Copenhagen, he knew that the press would be asking him for a name, that they would like to know how Groupama-FDJ was going to organize itself for the Tour de France, the most important race of the season. . “I will make it very simple: we will have a single leader“, he started. The name of David Gaudu followed this announcement a few seconds. The Breton is Madiot’s choice.

David deserves this chancee, continued the general manager. We had long talked about three bridgeheads for the Tour but we have reviewed our plan, for a good reason: we needed a rider capable of getting through the first week well.” And this rider was not Thibaut Pinot who, as we know, does not like nervous pelotons and the placement game. The first week, which is announced to be daunting, calls for qualities that he does not have. not. “The object of the game is to attack the podium. I tell myself that apart from 2 or 3 Slovenians, it’s playable“, finally announced a Marc Madiot faithful to what he had announced in January, at least from the point of view of the objective.

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Pinot: “I didn’t feel fit to be a leader on the Tour”

And the men in all that ? How was the announcement made, what were the reactions of Gaudu and Pinot since no one imagined for two seconds that Michaël Storer could be the leader of Groupama-FDJ in the Tour de France for his first year in blue-white -red ? “We announced it just after the Dauphiné. We had a meeting with David, Thibaut, a sports director and me. It was short and clear.”

Short and clear since the first wanted the role while the second pushed him away with all his might. “I didn’t feel fit to be a leader on the Tour. Mark understood this. We weren’t fighting for leadership, David wanted it, he got it“, assures a Pinot at peace with the decision and the role that will be assigned to him. Pompous, he was thus named “guardian angel” of his young teammate in the mountains.

He will also and above all have the role of guiding David Gaudu. To guide him in a leadership role on the Tour that he himself judges “mentally exhausting“.”The most important thing is off the bike, quotes Pinot. It will be necessary to have a team which lives well, to think of something else, to laugh. When you are young and leader on the Tour, you quickly put pressure on yourself.” He knows something about it.

Gaudu has many more qualities than me when I was the leader

Gaudu is ready to take on the role. And even the ultra-high ambitions of Marc Madiot do not scare him. “He announced the podium goal, it’s a high goal but if we don’t set it, we won’t move forwardhe judges. We will do the accounts on arrival. If the stars are aligned, without wishing harm to anyone of course, it can work in our favor this year.” With Pinot, Groupama-FDJ has indeed had its share of bad luck in the past.

As for the relationship he will have with his eldest, whom the public necessarily expects on the attack, the Breton is not worried. “With Thibaut we have already worked a lot together, in one direction or the other. It’s something quite simple, we worked so much together. It’s always been natural, we don’t need to talk to each other.” The images of the 2019 Pyrenees come to mind, where a very young Gaudu asphyxiated the group of leaders for a flying Pinot.

Less comfortable than his friend to talk about him, Gaudu finally leaves the final word to Pinot: “I don’t worry too much about David. He has a lot more quality than me when I was the leader of the team.” Can he do as well as him and his 3rd place in 2014? Response in just over three weeks.

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