Pinot, like wine – Contrasti Magazine
Cycling as an internal struggle.
Cycling is a sport of waiting. Entire days can pass inexorably until someone decides to upset the balance. Cyclists cultivate the virtue of patience in the hope of finding a favorable stage, a suitable team or a window of opportunity to attack. The expectation is also that of the French people, the world pioneer of cycling, who over the years have seen cyclists of various nationalities parading at the front in yellow jerseys. After decades of French dominance, the Tour de France has been back since 1985, the year of Bernard Hinault’s last victory tricolor curtain It doesn’t fly on the last step of the podium in Paris. A complex that has been ingrained in the minds of the French and never resolved: having the most important cycling competition at home but no compatriot who could win it. This lasted until the early 1910s.
Until the arrival of Thibaut Pinot.
Thibaut Pinot was the great illusion of French cycling. An incredibly gifted climber, he was an imperfect, fragile and incredibly human hero in the time of alien sports, and that may have been his great fault.
Pinot decided to retire two Saturdays ago Tour of Lombardythe “Classic of Dead Leaves”, a melancholic and suggestive name for the final act of the romantic hero of the caravan. Over 2,500 French people poured into the streets of Bergamo to welcome him. Just like on Petit balloonthe penultimate ascent of the Tours 2023where Thibaut gave his fans one final illusion by first reaching the top of the hill before being absorbed by the boarding group led by Pogacar.
A cyclist certainly with a bizarre character, a absolute antidoteThibaut avoids the limelight; he does not live in Monte Carlo, but in Mélisey, a French town with just over a thousand inhabitants, of which his father is the mayor. Following the outpouring of affection following the announcement of his resignation, he stated: “All these congratulations, also among other runners, They surprise me a lot because in a group, a bit like in life, I’m very shy and a bit wild“It’s perhaps a shame not to have worked with a lot of runners because there are definitely people who deserve it.”
The seemingly harsh but sincere and loyal way someone behaves he felt betrayed and disgusted by other people. He openly denounced the doping that still silently creeps through the caravan and caused a deafening silence among his colleagues. “I thought I would get a little more support, especially from the guys on my team. This is also why I can leave this environment without regrets. I often said what I thought. I wanted to help. I haven’t received any feedback. So let me live my life now.
The consciousness of a career fought against itself, its doubts, its demons, but also against the rot of sport: “How many times have I come second or third even though I knew full well or had a strong suspicion that the victory was actually mine…”.
The Pinot presents itself to the world for the first time Tours from 2012. He is only 22 years old and wearing the milky white jersey of the FDJ, the team that will accompany him throughout his career, he leads everyone on the last climb of the eighth stage Prunrut, a few kilometers from his home. What’s even more impressive is what happens a few days later, when the Frenchman remains the only one behind Chris Froome at the top La Toussuire. “I didn’t understand why I was so strong. I thought someone had doped me or I had drunk from the wrong bottle. I told myself that it wasn’t normal for me to be so strong at my age. I started to get scared. I had broken the record for climbing La Toussuire, which belonged to Alberto Contador.
Apparently normal statements, but they already give it away Doubts and uncertainties of young Pinot.
It seems as if a star has been born and France is rallying around its favorite and waiting for the big moment. Full maturity appears to have been reached in 2018, et al Tour of Italy Thibaut looks like he could be the right man whose dominance can be broken TeamSky. In the first few weeks, given the decisive advance in the Alps, he was firmly in the top group of the overall ranking. But on the roof of Europe, performance drops dramatically. On the penultimate stage he continues panting, his bike starts to skid and he coughs continuously as the other riders pass him. He manages to reach the finish line 45 minutes late and fights stoically, but when he arrives the diagnosis is brutal. Beginning of pneumonia. Pinot is therefore forced to a trip Now he is compromised and misses his first big chance.
But the sports drama has only just begun. The pattern repeats itself a year later, this time around Tours. Pinot is in form and has a team that can support him all the way to the yellow jersey. On the fourteenth stage, he reveals his intentions to everyone and achieves a victory at the forefront of the Legendaries Col du Tourmalet. As the caravan approaches the Pyrenees, Thibaut is fifth in the overall standings, just a stone’s throw from the yellow jersey. But at dawn on the nineteenth stage, the black cloud appeared over the Frenchman’s head again. He suddenly feels pain in his left thigh and has to retreat in tears.
“This time I felt like I could do it. In the Pyrenees I had great feelings and felt capable of winning the Tour. I was convinced that nothing could happen to me. Now we’ll never know. Now I’m tired, disappointed, it will take some time to digest..
Pinot Blanc and Pinot Noir. Picks and dives. Just one great triumph, the one in Lombardia in 2018. Paradox for someone who has the phrase tattooed on his arm: “Only victory is beautiful.” However, it is no coincidence that he decided to say goodbye to cycling on the roads of Lombardy, the Italy that gave him so much in terms of sport. For the trip 2023, Standing on the pedals, unzipped and breathing heavily, Pinot gave it his all one last timeand won the blue jersey in the climbing competition. He explained: “Everything has happened to me, I’m not afraid of anything anymore.”. Cycling is a sport of waiting, and the waiting has worn Pinot down. Without expectations, without pressure, the Frenchman has now managed to free himself with his impetuous and wavering advocacy and to pay homage to his unhappy career to the end.
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Alexandre Roos, the most influential figure in French cycling, he said about him: “Pinot has achieved the feat of putting Victory in the backgroundin a world where only victory counts. Pinot no longer has anything to do with this cycling all of this is calculated and predicted, which tramples on his nature and his free will. The bond that binds us to him goes beyond cycling. It made us love this sport, above all it gave meaning to our passion because it preserved it, brought it back to its simplicity and embodied that Man’s fight against himself and his shortcomings“.
Pinot was a Puzzleone broken promisebut first of all a Man, full of doubts, insecurities and fragility. He gathered more public love than success, perhaps out of pity, but also because it was a reflection of the lives of each of us, consisting of injustices, successes, unfulfilled expectations and small and large misfortunes. He retires with the desire to dedicate himself to the life that he has previously somewhat neglected, his vegetable garden, his family and his mountains: “I’m finally ready for real life. Maybe the sun has finally emerged from the black cloud over Pinot’s head.