The French climber, who has had several bad days in the last two Tours, pointed to stage five as his most likely drop down and out of the GC ranking.
The stage from Vittel to the summit finish at La Planche Des Belles Filles is a short but nasty test. It is only 5.9km in length but it kicks fast and hard with a 10% grade that jumps to 14% at the top.
In the 2016 Tour de France, Pinot lost three minutes on stage seven as he struggled up the first major climb of the race, the Col d’Aspin
In the first week of the 2015 Tour, Pinot lost 3:23 on stage four’s cobblestone run from Seraing to Cambrai. In that case it was a mechanical issue but he’s already lost almost three minutes in the previous stages.
By signaling what he sees as his likely Jour Sans, Pinot and his Francaise Des Jeux squad have nine months to work out a strategy to avoid the future meltdown.
“Jerome saw the big yellow map of France. He knew there was going to be a problem somewhere in those mountains,” said team boss Madiot. “Now we see it is La Planche des Belles Filles. I will be in the car behind him yelling extra loud.”
Pinot’s surprise announcement of his potential failure on stage five was seen by many as a sign of maturity. “He stood up in front of Froome and Nibali and Quintana and said, ‘Here is where I will fall apart. Here is where I crash and burn,’” said Lucien Lamaire, a performance director at FDJ. “That is a mark of confidence. He knows what he needs to do and where.”
While Pinot did pinpoint the exact stage for his jour sans, he was unable to predict how much time he would lose. “It could be two minutes, it could be ten, one never knows with Pinot,” said Madiot. “Maybe he should ride the Giro d’Italia after all.