How is Thibaut Pinot perceived outside France? “He’s’ our ‘romantic hero,’ in Italy

From tears of frustration to relief, in such a short time. Last week, Thibaut Pinot lived 24 hours full of emotions. With him, it is a good part of the fans of French cycling who have been transported in this emotional lift. French cycling, only? On social media, the enthusiasm for Pinot’s victory during the 5th stage of the Tour des Alpes, as well as the disappointment of his failure the day before, seemed to prevail in the world of cycling, beyond our borders.

But two tweets here and a post on Facebook there have never been authentic. Is Pinot really perceived as a different runner outside of France? In Italy, its power of attraction is not overrated, according to Ciro Scognamiglio, journalist of the Gazzetta dello Sport. “Thibaut is one of the most beloved runners herehe believes. In 2018, Whenhe (Pinot) had a health problem and could not finish the Giro, there was a feeling of disappointment in Italy. “

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Tattoo and football

Our partner sees “different reasons“to this. The profile of the Groupama-FDJ rider, already:”It is atrue climber and Italians love climbers“His personality, and his common history with the Boot, especially:”He has always had an important relationship with Italy, he won the Lombardy Week at the beginning of his career (2011), then the Tour of Lombardy (2018). He has a tattoo in Italian: Only victory is beautiful ‘ (Only victory is beautiful). “

Pinot can also share his passion with many of his transalpine neighbors. “I remember, during an interview with him, he told me that he really liked football and that he had gone to watch the derby between AC Milan and Inter.“Says Scognamiglio, about this great PSG fan. Alongside Eurosport Spain, the tone is less in love:”More than 30 professional victories (32, editor’s note), ask for respect. ” But the French rider leaves no one indifferent.

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passion and compassion

Thibaut is very popular here in Spain, whether it’s in his big wins or his bad days on the bike. “, testifies Adrià Garcia. He puts his finger on a central feature of the Pinot phenomenon: the breadth of his performances and the sensations they can provide. “It can go very high … or very low. Therefore, it will give us very high and very low levels, in terms of emotions. We will be crazy … and sometimes very disappointed“said former runner Nicolas Fritsch.

Thibaut Pinot is a special runner, awakens passion“continues our consultant. Compassion too, as during his poignant abandonment two days before the arrival of the 2019 Tour de France.”It would take a whole day to talk about Pinot. To explain everything he won, everything he didn’t win and everything that happened to him (…) People support him in his misfortunes, applaud him in his victories“sums up our Eurosport Italy teammate Carlo Filippo Vardelli.

No one expects big things from him anymore.

A high degree of uncertainty, sensitive ascending rope, which does not excite on the other side of the Canal. “Brutally honest: the average person on the street has never heard of PinotBen Snowball (Eurosport UK) starts sweeping. In the field of cycling, he is considered a runner who often fails near the goal, which ‘was almost there’. He had this status “chosen” among the French to win the Tour de France … and never materialized. “

In Britain, the prospect of a 31-year-old Pinot returning to the stage is not even an issue: “He only had the misfortune of being in the same generation in which the Sky became Ineos, a winning machine. Now no one expects big things from him, in front of runners like Tadej Pogacar and Primoz Roglic. ” A distant attitude that we find in other countries.

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A runner and codes of the past?

Thomas Janz gives the pulse to the German editorial staff of Eurosport: “Cycling enthusiasts know Pinot and his sometimes emotional and spectacular way of cycling … but he is in the shadow of Pogacar and company.“In Poland, Mariusz Czykier, a commentator on our antennas, describes a similar relationship:”From time to time people appreciate his “warrior soul” (…) But he (Pinot) is classified as the old school, which has no whims and madness compared to the new generation. “

Cyril Saugrain is called in to evaluate Pinot, for the RTBF. At the start of a Grand Tour, he and his friend Rodrigo Beenkens made him a contender in a group of very good climbers. Like Romain Bardet, no more and no less. “Two Frenchmen were among the ‘favorites’ recently during the Tour de France: Bardet and Pinot. We analyzed them as good outsidersexplains the Belgian channel consultant. We know that very favorable racing circumstances are needed to get them back in their favor. “

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So strong, sometimes …

Saugrain does not guess any notion of affection in the pursuit of Pinot in Belgium. “But that’s just my opinion, what I perceive in the media. “, he insists cautiously. As for his vision of his “atypical “ compatriot: “I think he is full of qualities but he needs to live the bike the way he wants to live it“Result:”I’m not a big fan of Thibaut Pinot, but I’m always touched by the man, his sincerity (…) it’s a whole runner, which can be excellent or very bad. “

In his propensity to be capable of the worst and the best, Pinot therefore touches more or less the public. But Nicolas Fritsch recalls how the great days of the Franc-Comtois are intrinsically remarkable: “Thibaut Pinot has this ability to sublimate himself, to seek performances in the realm of the extraordinary.“Ciro Scognamiglio abounds:”Thibaut’s defeats were sometimes Homeric … but so were his victories. He is a runner who has managed to win on mythical peaks such as the Tourmalet or the Alpe d’Huez.. “

I’m disappointed that I’m not taking part in the Giro this year

It is, therefore, through a new detour through Italy that we find the most laudatory comments about Pinot. It is part of a glorious recent landscape. “There were the duels with Vincenzo Nibali, during the Tour of Lombardy, but also Nibali’s victory in the general classification of the Tour de France, in 2014 … Pinot was in the photo, 3rd.recalls the Gazzetta dello Sport journalist, before concluding: “I’m disappointed that I’m not taking part in the Giro this year. “

Therefore, fourth in the 2017 edition, Pinot skipped the Tour of Italy. But this week he is taking part in the Tour de Romandia (Switzerland) and the Italians will probably have his eye on it, according to Carlo Filippo Vardelli: “What happened during the Tour of the Alps is emblematic: after the tears that touched everyone, the victory was a release (…) Most of Italy loves Thibaut Pinot: he is “our” romantic hero. ” France too, but that can be all.

Thibaut Pinot rediscovers the taste for victory – Tour des Alpes, April 22, 2022

Credit: Getty Images

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