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Frenchman predicts key changes in the GC as the second includes Mont Ventoux and individual time trial. 

Photo: A.S.O.

GROUPAMA-FDJ

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THIBAUT PINOT

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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08.07.2016 @ 09:09 Posted by Jesper Ralbjerg

So far, FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot has enjoyed an almost unblemished season with quite a few good results. Following six days of racing at the Tour, it is evident that Pinot, a podium finisher at the Tour two years ago, is pleased with how the race has developed thus far.

 

"After five days I'm within a few seconds from the leaders. That's good. I didn't crash, didn't take risks and without major fatigue. It's going very well right now," Pinot told Cyclingnews before the start of stage 6 in Arpajon-sur-Cère.

 

The stage into the undulating and demanding territory that is the Massif Central on Wednesday proved to be anything but a walk in the park and Pinot was spotted near the back of the rather small peloton with favourites on the final climbs.

 

"It was hard, it went fast, it was warm. It was a hard stage for everybody. I'm confident. Quite often these medium mountain stages are harder than the high mountain stages because the climbs are irregularly. The stages in the Vosges two years ago created a lot of gaps. It's a pity that we're not profiting more from this ‘intermediate Massif' more often. It would make for more racing and less longer stages. There's been a few ugly stages," Pinto probably referred to the two long stages to Angers and Limoges.

 

Starting today the Tour hits the Pyrenees. Friday's stage includes the renowned Col d'Aspin. Pinot, however, did not appear overawed. "It's a very famous climb in the Pyrenees at the end of the stage, with a descent after it to the finish. I think that the Louron [Saturday] will hurt more than the Aspin because the Aspin is quite a regular climb. I think the big test will be mostly on Sunday. Tomorrow I expect to see the same like yesterday. Movistar will set a very high pace. The breakaway will likely make it to the finish again. I don't expect attacks from the big favourites."

 

Friday’s stage concludes with a short but steep descent, something that is not to Pinot’s liking. However, he seemed quite confident that he would be able to minimize the damages while biding his time to gain time on his rivals.

 

"For me, it's about the mountaintop finishes and the time trials. The cards in the Tour de France will be shuffled the 14th on the Ventoux and the 15th with the 40 kilometres individual time trial. Those two days will change a lot for the general classification."

 

Heading into the Pyrenees, Pinot sits in 20th position at 5:28 behind overall leader Greg Van Avermaet (BMC). He is 11 seconds down on last year's Tour de France winner Chris Froome (Sky).

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