Pinot upbeat after consistent ride on steepest ascent of Vuelta a Espana

Thibaut Pinot (Team Groupama FDJ)

Thibaut Pinot’s steady rise towards top form in the Vuelta a Espana took another step up on Saturday as the Frenchman stubbornly refused to cede ground on the final climb of Praeres. The Groupama-FDJ rider was gapped around halfway up the agonisingly steep farm track but he seemed to improve the higher it went. He gradually clawed his way back up to the fast-dwindling group of favourites. Then when Miguel Angel Lopez (Astana) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) launched themselves forwards in the final kilometre, Pinot managed to bridge across with Simon Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar Team). 17 seconds adrift of the strongest GC rider, Nairo Quintana (Movistar) on the Camperona, at Praeres Pinot regained two seconds on the Colombian, crossing the line in fourth place. He is 11th at 2:46 but far more upbeat about his Vuelta a Espana and the final week. “We had hoped to do ...

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