Thibaut's interview in l'Equipe today:
Title: My duty is to get to Paris
Thibaut Pinot, who was dreaming of competing for the '20 TdF win, feels like he's racing "two stages every day" since he injured his back, and now only thinks about finishing.
Journo: How do you feel ahead of the Tour's final week?
Tibo: I've had worse, I've had better. It's been like that for 15 days now, I'm getting used to it. I'm always hoping that it gets better, even though my back didn't get much better. That's the hardest.
Journo: Are you experiencing ups and downs?
Tibo: I want to say only downs. I can only sustain top-level effort for 30 minutes, after that I fade. I can't do what I want. Some days, I'm the worst rider in the peloton. It's not easy. I had planned to do something that didn't include fighting to avoid being part of the last gruppetto. Since I fell, it's a pain in the ass. I have seldom had such bad legs. My back is hurting, I can't push on the pedals, I'm making twice the effort that I should be making. I'm more tired than the other riders, I feel like I'm racing two stages every day.
Journo: Are you still receiving as much medical attention?
Tibo: Yes, three hours a day, it's a lot, I don't have personal time, it sucks, but without them, I couldn't have carried on. They keep me alive, so to speak, so I can finish Le Tour. And it's important that I finish Le Tour OK and continue the season.
Journo: Are you going to help your teammates win stages?
Tibo: Of course I want to. But to get in a break, you have to be strong. If I can, I will, but I'm limited. I can barely follow the big attacks when stages begin.
Journo: Are you thinking about the RRWC?
Tibo: Of course, it's in two weeks. I told Voeckler that I would give him an answer next Thursday evening. I want to be part of the team but right now there's no reason for me to be in it. There're at least 8 French riders stronger than me, I don't want to take someone else's spot because I'm Thibaut Pinot. Right now, I'm not strong enough to help Julian or someone else win.
The rest is about all the riders in the team being banged up, but resilient, and the bond that is solid between them.
I'm not sure that continuing is the right thing to do, I respect Tibopino's choice, I understand that he knows what some have written in social media and wants to prove them wrong. "Take his beating like a man" as Mike Tyson once put it.
In my opinion, he shouldn't care. But he does. Stubborn Franc-Comtois. I'm with him.