The death of Gino Mäder, “I think about it almost on every descent”, confides the French cyclist Thibaut Pinot

Thibaut Pinot confides that he thinks “almost every descent” of Gino Mäder’s fatal fall on the Tour de Suisse, in an interview with AFP where the cyclist also develops his ambition to win the French Championships on Sunday in Cassel, in the north. The Groupama-FDJ climber, who will then participate in his 10th Tour de France, also admits that a title of national champion could “make him think” about the advisability of extending his career a little, which should in principle end. at the end of the season.

Journalist : With what ambitions do you approach the French Championships?

Thibaut Pinot : “My personal ambition is simple: it is to win. Afterwards, there will necessarily be a race tactic and the important thing will be to bring back the title with the team. We will have one of the strongest.”

Journalist : Does the particularly hard route suit you?

Thibaut Pinot : “Yes, because it’s going to be a very tiring circuit. It would have been 200 terminals and only the arrival bump, it was dead for me. But with 4,000 meters of elevation, we are no longer in the same type puncher. We’re more about resistance. And when you come out like me of a big Tour like the Giro, the distance you necessarily have in your legs. This is perhaps the small advantage that I will have .”

Journalist : If you win, will you have to continue your career to ride with the champion’s jersey, as you suggested?

Thibaut Pinot : “I said that jokingly. For the moment I’m not too delirious. But you know it’s always been a dream for me to wear this blue-white-red jersey. It’s a jersey that could still make me think. But for the moment we are not there. We must already win the race.”

Journalist: The Tour de France is coming very quickly behind. Can not wait to be there ?

Thibaut Pinot : “For my last season, it would have been a regret not to go. I want to enjoy, to take it as a party. Give the best of myself hoping to have good feelings as I could have some on the end of the Giro. I could have some good surprises in Paris.”

Journalist : How did you learn of the fatal fall of Gino Mäder in the Tour de Suisse?

Thibaut Pinot : “I learned it during training in La Cluzaz. It was very complicated to finish, I was stunned. Gino was a rider who, like me, liked to hang out at the back of the peloton and we often found ourselves at talk. I loved him a lot. I escaped with him on the last stage of the Vuelta. We were both together. It’s dramatic.”

Journalist : Does it make you think about your job?

Thibaut Pinot : “Since the accident, I think about it almost every time I go down in training. However, I was not even on the Tour de Suisse. For those who were there, it must be even more difficult. I am a rider who takes a little less risk than the others because I am really aware of the danger. It is often said that you have to unplug the brain in the bike. I really have a hard time with this idea. We practice a dangerous sport.

Journalist : Do you know the descent in which he fell?

Thibaut Pinot : “I had done this descent almost 10 years ago, it was the same stage. And I remember it very well: I had given up because I was afraid of speed. It was in the period when I was criticized a lot for my caution on the descents. But people don’t realize what you’re doing on a bike at 100 km/h. You very quickly forget the risks you’re taking.”

Journalist : What should be changed?

Thibaut Pinot : “Finishes at the bottom of the descent, as we also saw on the Tour of the Basque Country, often pose a problem. But the descents are part of the race. Afterwards, why not put more protective nets as we do in skiing? We really don’t have anything to protect ourselves with. I think that’s what we can work on.”

Journalist : Shouldn’t we also less glorify the risks that runners take?

Thibaut Pinot : “Yes, but we know it’s part of the show. It always sells better. When you see the summary of a stage on TV, almost a third of the images are devoted to crashes. For us runners, it’s It’s unfortunate to see that because there’s something else to show in our sport.”

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