Thibaut Pinot was at fault when he was wiped out by a soigneur at the Tour de France, that is according to Adam Blythe.
The 32-year-old crashed midway through Stage 8 after what appeared to be a touch of wheels as his run of bad luck at the event continued. However, things would get much worse: while trying to get back on, he was hit in the face by a stray musette as a rival soigneur tried to hand their rider a feed bag.
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And the incident was the talk of The Breakaway. Orla Chennaoui and Robbie McEwen felt that Pinot had again been unlucky, but Blythe took a different view.
Chennaoui called the incident bad luck and heart-breaking, which was a sentiment that 12-time Tour de France stage winner Robbie McEwen agreed with.
“The feed bag hit him right in the chops! You couldn’t script it,” said McEwen.
“How much bad luck can you have? Wrong place, wrong time, and someone doing the wrong thing.”
‘Caught 5kg straight in the face’ – Pinot wiped out by rival soigneur
However, Blythe took a different view on proceedings.
“It’s [Thibaut’s] own fault,” began Blythe.
The former Lotto-Soudal rider added that someone of Pinot’s experience should have more race nous.
“Everyone knows when you put a feed bag out, everyone takes it on the right-hand side,” he added.
“When you see people with feed bags, you automatically go to their left. He’s got back on [from his crash], tried to get back in, got a Trek rider in front of him
“He has been in the game long enough! This might sound really harsh, but you can see there, that the bag is already there and he’s on the right-hand side. He’s the one that has to break. The Trek rider can’t see where he is. The soigneur can but he’s just trying to do his job of giving that thing out.”
- ‘You don’t reach across a rider!’ – Pinot wiped out by bag at Tour de France
- Van Aert doubles up with Stage 8 win, Pogacar extends GC lead
Pinot would take a moment to compose himself after the incident, receive some treatment and get back on his bike to complete the stage. He would finish some 2’18” behind stage winner Wout van Aert, and is now 10’09” in arrears of race leader Tadej Pogacar.
Belgium’s Van Aert clung on in a select lead group on the final 4.5km climb to the finish before timing his sprint to perfection to come round Australia’s Matthews and the Slovenian race leader
It was the Jumbo-Visma rider’s second win of the 2022 Tour, and McEwen was left suitably impressed.
“He’s a freak of nature,” said McEwen of the 27-year-old. “He is just a phenomenon.”
Blythe agreed, calling Van Aert “fresher” on the day.
“You could see how much fresher he was in his legs than everyone else,” he said.
“What he’s doing is just incredible.”
The Tour continues on Sunday with a scenic day in the Swiss Alps – the 193km Stage 9 which starts in Aigle and tackles two Cat.1 climbs before returning to French soil ahead of another punchy uphill finish at Chatel Les Portes du Soleil.
‘Incredible’ – Van Aert a ‘freak of nature’
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Stream the Tour de France live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.
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