Thibaut Pinot just missed the victory today in the shortened 13th stage of the Giro d’Italia. The 32-year-old Frenchman, who will call it a day after this season, could not count on much help in the leading group from his fellow refugees Einer Rubio Augusto (Movistar) and Jefferson Cepeda (EF Education-EasyPost).
It even came to a bit of a tiff between Pinot and Cepeda (see video below). The Frenchman is said to have told the Ecuadorian that he would do everything in his power not to let him win.
🚴🇮🇹 | Pinot says one thing is certain today: Cepeda must not win! 😡
📺 You can watch the course via discovery+ pic.twitter.com/ypOkRHKoog
— Eurosport Netherlands (@Eurosport_NL) May 19, 2023
“I was really furious,” Pinot reflected afterwards in an interview with Pro Cycling Net. “Unfortunately I probably paid for my efforts in the final in the sprint. I had set my sights on this stage and really gave it my all. I lost and have to accept that. It was a short stage, but with two such climbs a very tough one. I hope there will be more opportunities. It would be great to be able to put your hands in the air again.”
Despite the lack of cooperation, Pinot continued to drag in the lead. “I couldn’t help it. if I don’t drive, we would be overtaken by the group with the GC guys. Leaving them behind was also very difficult. There was a lot of headwind and the final climb was not super steep with an average gradient of 7%. That makes it very difficult to release the other guys.”
Pinot did manage to regain the blue mountain jersey. “That is a nice consolation prize. I’m going to try to keep him as long as possible. It may become a goal, but there is still a long way to go and there are still many KOM points to be earned,” said Thibaut Pinot