We were close to seeing Thibaut Pinot raising his arms for the 1st time in 2015. On the Corsican roads of the Critérium du Dauphiné, the best young rider of the 2014 Tour de France was clearly one of the favorites.
Thibaut Pinot attacking in the last climb
Photos credits : Presse Sports
After a first stage well controlled and a very good time trial (4th place), the FDJ rider was in a great position. 6th overall, he started the final stage with the ambition to pick up the victory at the top of the Ospedale.
But the AG2R Team was very well armed. In this final climb, the FDJ rider launched his first attack 7 km from the finish line. Three AG2R riders were still on his rear wheel at the moment: Two ex-MTBers Alexis Vuillermoz and Jean-Christophe Péraud, plus Jan Bakelants. It was then that Jean-Christophe Péraud, the defending champion in this event, attacked and escaped.
Behind, few riders were willing to collaborate with Thibaut Pinot and the gap quickly rised to 40 seconds. Thibaut attacked again in the last 2 kilometers, making the gap fall to 16 seconds. However, that was insufficient to take 1st place. For the second consecutive year, Péraud claimed victory on the Critérium du Dauphiné.
Thibaut Pinot finished the day with a nice 2nd place at the overall and with a great shape. He was very close to his 1st victory of the season.
His program is now moving towards the Tour of the Basque Country and the Flèche Wallonne.