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After a months-long cycling break filled with back pains, the rider is joining the Tour du Limousin and satisfying his eagerness to return to racing.

The past year hasn’t been easy for the Groupama FDJ racer. The back injury Pinot sustained in the first stage of the 2020 Tour troubled him for months. Pinot did train and worked hard on his recovery during the offseason but the five race starts proved he still didn’t reach his best shape, to say the least. After the 2021 Tour de Alps, Pinot took a break in April, postponing his cycling goals to the future.

It must have been difficult but now the Frenchman returns, embarking on a set of smaller French races. This allows him to re-enter his career without having to endure the tremendous pressure of the Grand Tours.

The smaller hilly race held in Limousin, France, seems to be the perfect place for a new start for Pinot who spent months visiting doctors trying to get better day by day, step by step. One of the results is a changed position on the bike. “I am higher on the saddle, much shorter at the level of the handlebars, precisely to relieve my back as much as possible.”

“I’m eager to pin a race number on again,” Pinot told L’Equippe. “I’ve missed fighting for victory, and knowing why you train so hard.”

Fingers crossed, Thibaut!