In a head-to-head finish against rival Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) the FDJ leader took the stage win, moved into the top ten, and pulled on the polka-dot jersey at the end of the day. Not a bad return after the Frenchman admitted that he had been struggling throughout the stage.
“I needed to attack today. I didn’t want to be an anonymous rider on the Dauphine because of my bad start,” he said at the finish. “My goal is now accomplished because I won a stage and I’d rather do that than finish seventh overall and come away with nothing else.”
Pinot established himself as a bigger GC threat with much improved time trialing this season, and his wins in the Critérium International and the Tour de Romandie time trial boded well for the Dauphiné. But the Frenchman lost 57 seconds in the prologue, then had a bad day in the first mountain stage, losing 2:30.
To help salvage his race, Pinot moved clear of the bunch with Bardet and several other riders on the Col de la Madeleine after Alberto Contador had attempted to isolate race leader Chris Froome.
Pinot rode in the wheels as AGR2 La Modiale pulled the break to the foot of the final climb and was the only rider who could catch on when Bardet accelerated for the first time with 10 kilometres remaining. With Bardet riding as the virtual leader on the road, the onus was on him to set the pace, and Pinot duly sat on as his countryman led up the final summit of what had been an engrossing day of racing.
You can read more at Cyclingnews.com