Bardet and Pinot PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE

Pinot or Bardet?

by / / 96 posts

That is my question. Both want to be considered great cyclists, not great French cyclists. It is a cruel and heavy burden to be an excellent French cyclist. When are you going to win the Tour de France? Bernard Hinaults don’t come around very often, maybe never again. Hinault was the French Merckx; winning was everything. If he was not a cyclist he should have been a professional fighter. Fignon was called the professor because he was from Paris and wore glasses, not because he was an intellectual. He managed to win some Tours and not be a badger. He was not out happily slugging protesters. If Hinault had lost to Lemond by eight seconds…one, it wouldn’t have happened. Hinault would have burst his own heart to finish nine seconds faster. Two, if he had lost by eight seconds, he would have slugged Lemond so damn hard it would have put him back in the hospital.

I hope the French are happy they have any prospective Tour winners. The Americans have none. Most countries do not because it takes a special genetic freak in a sport of genetic freaks to be one. The English had to sweep their post-colonial, high altitude Kenyan supply system to come up with one. Of this French pair I have a bias toward Romain Bardet partially because he rides for AG2R and on Keepers Tour 2012 we met directeur Vincent Lavenu. VL seemed a good sort and for inexplicable, Rule ignoring reasons, I sort of like their kit, but I digress.

Thibaut Pinot and Romain Bardet: both 24 years old, both stage winners in the 2015 Tour, both prodigious climbers, both saddled with the “next French hope” mantle.

Judging from this edition’s Alpe d’Huez stage, Pinot actually may be be the stronger climber. If you can ride everyone off your wheel on Alpe d’Huez, you are a badass. For climbing style points, Romain wins. He is solid and smooth to Pinot’s lack of. Going downhill, if you try to pedal through a corner and catch your inside pedal (and crash) doing so, points off. Bardet descends like Philippe Gilbert, that is to say, avec grande vitesse et les grand testicules.

Being the best climber or best descender does not make a grand tour winner. A grand tour winner does not have to be the best at anything, just very capable at everything. And not sucking at anything, like descending or time trialing and not having a jour sans.

Can either of these guys time trial? If Pinot can he should, by all rights, be one podium step closer in Paris than Andy Schleck* ever got. There is a large leap between a top ten Tour finish and a podium finish. It might be a larger leap from the third podium step to the top. Pinot and Bardet are in this mix.

Neither of these guys seem like punch throwing firebrands like Hinault, which may be good. Then who can better handle the pressure of being the next Fignon?

*I can still make fun of Andy Schleck even though he retired, yes?

// Awesome French Guys // Musings from the V-Bunker

  1. @frank You’re the delusional one, thinking teddy bears can climb fences.

    0
  2. Other than the first week, both could have podiumed. It was especially fun watching Bardet claw back time, day after day to end up in the top ten. Regardless of outbursts, both show good character. Much better than the TJ/Porte variety who look great, then inevitably fade. And the AG2R kit is fine by me. Easy to pick out from a low-res Steephill feed, and reminds me of The Who’s Tommy LP cover. What’s not to like?

    0
  3. Froome might be African yes. But Team Sky is clearly a Pommy (I only just learned this term thanks to this wonderfully classy educational site) team and I really dig ’em and the whole Tinkov, they’re gonna kill the business thing… Ian Stannard and Geraint Thomas? The fact the Froome is racing with these uber cool cats makes him British enough for me. Their bikes are mounted on bad a** Jags!! Yea, I know, an Indian company for now but that’s probably temporary. Jag and Land Rover will always be British. Team Sky may also have the Baddest Kits. Baddest Bikes, Buses, Trucks, RVs, Etc. So, the wife and kiddos and I are in London over the 4th and we see a t-shirt that says, Happy Traitor Day you Ungrateful Colonists. I love that place. And Team Sky. And Froome? Yea, I really like him too. And I don’t care if he looks like a squid falling out of a tree when riding a bike. That staring at the stem thing. And huffing on a puffer… he can ride a bike fast up a mtn and he’s not tiny kid small. Team Sky, their racers and their Pinarellos I like. And Kwiatowski is sounding like a good British dude to me if he’s racing with Stannard and Thomas. Oh, that’s right, this thread was about French riders… meh… whatev… God Save the Queen and Cheers all for the new week.

    0
  4. @Oli

    And yellow on celeste is as inexcusable today as it was in 1998. I don’t care if Pantani rode it, it’s just not right.

    Where is the “like” button ? 10-4 to this!

    0
  5. @Gianni

    Schleck brothers, both dopers, yes or no.

    I’ll take that one for 10. I have found it strange that he never soap boxed his drug ban adjusted result, didn’t seem to demonstrate sour grapes, which leads to an Omerta type viewpoint. What good did he do after that tour? Post that year, as Vader would say, I find their lack of form disturbing.. Pinots pedal strike – I watched the P&P and Eurosport/Kelly coverage of that, and found it laughable how an amateur like me could detect the simplest of rider errors, while the pro commentators were picking all sorts of equipment fuckups, road surface variations and the like. For me it’s Bardet. He can go up, but fuck me he can go down! Pinot looks stronger for the minute however. Also agree, neither have the teams to do it when the big 4 are on point. There was, however, something gleefully French about how they scratched their nuts while Cummings smoked them for that stage win. It was awesome, I was so happy for mountain chewbacca..

    0
  6. @frank

    @Gianni

    Doesn’t someone from the UK want to call me out for implying Froome is not a British rider? What does it take to get an argument going these days.

    Because he is clearly African, not British. He was born in Kenya, raised and educated in ZA, and only took a Pommy passport specifically for the betterment of his Cycling career.

    wouldn’t that line of thinking make you about as Dutch as I am which can’t be right as I was born in Hong Kong which would make me Chinese? i prefer to think of myself as a Brit and you as a loud American.

    0
  7. @frank

    @Gianni

    Doesn’t someone from the UK want to call me out for implying Froome is not a British rider? What does it take to get an argument going these days.

    Because he is clearly African, not British. He was born in Kenya, raised and educated in ZA, and only took a Pommy passport specifically for the betterment of his Cycling career.

    Yeah like David Millar is from Hong Kong. His parents are British, his grandparents are British – he has British nationality by right. You non-imperialists don’t understand the expat world.

    0
  8. @wilburrox

    And Froome? Yea, I really like him too. And I don’t care if he looks like a squid falling out of a tree when riding a bike.

    Sir, if it were in my power to hand on the +1 badge it would go to you for that comment alone. The rest of the post was pretty good as well, but that made me laugh.

    0
  9. Given that Brailsford has stated he wants to win the tour with a French rider, I’ll go for Bardet once he signs for Sky. Once he does win, we can uncover the fact his mum had an affair with a travelling Hoover salesman from Croydon in February 1990 and so is, in fact, English.

    0
  10. @ChrisO I don’t want to confuse things but Millar isn’t from Hong Kong, he’s a Malteser.

    0
  11. @chris

    @ChrisO I don’t want to confuse things but Millar isn’t from Hong Kong, he’s a Malteser.

    But that would make Wiggins Belgian.

    0
  12. The final word: Froome is clearly British, otherwise the French would not throw urine at him!

    0
  13. @ChrisO

    @chris

    @ChrisO I don’t want to confuse things but Millar isn’t from Hong Kong, he’s a Malteser.

    But that would make Wiggins Belgian.

    undoubtably Belgian.

    0
  14. @ChrisO You’re right, I should have said he was a Brit (there’ll be a whining Scot along in a moment) who happened to been born in Malta. Unfortunately, the cheap pun was irresistible. Isn’t Wiggo half Aussie? @Brendan O’Donoghue

    The final word: Froome is clearly British, otherwise the French would not throw urine at him!

    English. The French are quite chummy with the Scots.

    0
  15. Just read the recent Fotheringham book on Hinault. Very well researched and written. Distinction made between Hinault and Merckx in that the Prophet had to win everything, Le Blaireau was more choosey about what he wanted to win. Some reckon Bernie was overall stronger than Merckx on the bike as well. End of the book considers current state of cycling in France and the impossible job of riding in the Badger’ shadow. Fotheringham reckons as a fellow Breton riding for a non French team that Barguil is the best prospect. TBH I need to watch them all more closely for a full season to really have a view. Pinot did look the business on the Alpe for sure. Don’t think any of them are on teams that will give them a Grand Tour any time soon.

    0
  16. Speaking of Bianchi colors. I went to pick up my bike at the shop after some long-awaited swaps and such were made. I’d been told to come at a certain time, was just to be a pick-up. When I arrived there was a big, gaudy Escalade in the driveway. Yeck. Then when I entered the shop/work shed (he works out back of his house) there was and older woman in too-good shape with her tri-Cervelo in the stand. The mechanic said hello, she just looked at me. How friendly! She was off to some race and her bike was creaking. Good time to check! I was willing to overlook all of this until she said her old, steel Bianchi never creaked. She told the mechanic it was “that cool green color.” Ouch, you shouldn’t be allowed to own a celeste Bianchi if you refer to it as a “green” bike.

    0
  17. I’ve never quite understood the allure of celeste. That’s possibly down to the fact that Bianchi owners can be a tad to enthusiastic when it come to colour matching.

    0
  18. @ChrisO

    Why do people always think I’m English? Should I say “Strewth stone the crows digger, no worries, she’ll be right” and drop casually racist comments into my posts so people know I’m Australian?

    Sorry Chris, I know full well you’re an Aussie and if I’d have done something like, thought for a second, with my brain, I’d have remembered that.

    0
  19. @rfreese888

    Just read the recent Fotheringham book on Hinault. Very well researched and written. Distinction made between Hinault and Merckx in that the Prophet had to win everything, Le Blaireau was more choosey about what he wanted to win. Some reckon Bernie was overall stronger than Merckx on the bike as well.

    Ooh, I must read this. What’s the title? I loved Fotheringham’s book on Merckx – I read it twice while I had it from the library, which is pretty much unprecedented for me. Both men cast very long shadows through the sport.

    0
  20. After reading these posts, I’m switching to Bardet because he rocks the AG2R kit. Yup, brown/white/blue was a bit of a gamble design-wise, but the fact that they’ve stuck with it in the face of (undeserved) criticism, makes me like it more. You want your kit to be noticeable. Take most kits and strip them of all logos. Quite a few would be hard to identify. Not so AG2R. Kinda like the classic Atala kit: bold, ballsy and distinctive. They match the kit to bikes and helmets too which is more than most teams do.

    0
  21. @RobSandy Bernard Hinault and the Fall and Rise of French Cycling I also read his book on Coppi which was quite good, Merckx volume is on the list for sure.

    0
  22. @Mikael Liddy

    Speaking of sub par descending, anyone seen the footage of Matt Brammeier’s crash at the Tour of Utah on the weekend? Think Barguil vs GT, except Brammeier was going way faster & decided to use a support car as his stopping mechanism instead of a fellow rider…ouch!

    Cripes yeah just saw that. On balance he’s maybe fortunate he hit the car as he’d have been off into the trees at a hellofaspeed otherwise and the side of a car is more forgiving than a tree.

    0
  23. @RobSandy

    @rfreese888

    Just read the recent Fotheringham book on Hinault. Very well researched and written. Distinction made between Hinault and Merckx in that the Prophet had to win everything, Le Blaireau was more choosey about what he wanted to win. Some reckon Bernie was overall stronger than Merckx on the bike as well.

    Ooh, I must read this. What’s the title? I loved Fotheringham’s book on Merckx – I read it twice while I had it from the library, which is pretty much unprecedented for me. Both men cast very long shadows through the sport.

    And in the Merckx book, which is fantastic, there are many mentions of attacks when other riders crash or suffer a mechanical, this gentleman’s agreement that we all think comes from a nobler age never fucking existed! Viva Il Squalo

    0
  24. @wilburrox And I thought I was the only one thinking this. (Not about the “Like” button, FB can keep it.) Oli’s comment about the colors is spot on. Also, I vote for Bardet. Watching him gracefully power up some of those early climbs was just beautiful to watch. I have no other facts or evidence to back up my pick, so be it.

    0
  25. @Teocalli Total cluster fuck going on there. Must be a strangely-laid corner, and boy oh boy was he ever going too fast.

    0
  26. @frank

    @Teocalli Total cluster fuck going on there. Must be a strangely-laid corner, and boy oh boy was he ever going too fast.

    He was going way, way too fast. Did his brakes fail? And what was up with the riders taking such a bad line into the corner? It’s a left-hander. Doesn’t that mean you hug the right side of the road going in to give you the best line? Most of those guys were in the left lane. As for the motorbike, yet another bad example of motos being clueless in US races. To stop in the middle of the lane/corner was insane. (And yes, I’m aware of what happened to GvA in San Sebastian) but I’m thinking about Phinney. Kudos to the spectators who started yelling at the riders to slow down.

    0
  27. @Ron I’d swear that I’ve heard celeste referred to as Bianchi green (?). Anyways, how’s this for a good use of celeste (called Seafoam Green by Fender) Looks like Bianchi’s latest “version” of celeste on the Specialissima runs more to the sky blue kinda shade.

    0
  28. @wiscot

    @frank

    @Teocalli Total cluster fuck going on there. Must be a strangely-laid corner, and boy oh boy was he ever going too fast.

    He was going way, way too fast. Did his brakes fail? And what was up with the riders taking such a bad line into the corner? It’s a left-hander. Doesn’t that mean you hug the right side of the road going in to give you the best line? Most of those guys were in the left lane. As for the motorbike, yet another bad example of motos being clueless in US races. To stop in the middle of the lane/corner was insane. (And yes, I’m aware of what happened to GvA in San Sebastian) but I’m thinking about Phinney. Kudos to the spectators who started yelling at the riders to slow down.

    I’ve ridden up that road before and I think I know what turn that is. It’s hard to tell from this angle but the inside of the turn is murderously steep so hitting it at speed could be a huge problem. Not surprised the lines look bad.

    0
  29. @ChrisO Back in 2012 David Ferehty described the golf swing of Jim Furyk as an octopus falling out of a tree. I can’t help but recall that when I watch Froome race a bike. Ferehty also had a good quote along the lines of: I haven’t done a fact check on these so if they’re not right they should be… That in some instances could be a perfect thought for use around these parts of the inter webs. Cheers

    0
  30. @frank yeah I’d steered clear of embedding it, that’s not footage I particularly want to see again.

    0
  31. @chris

    I’ve never quite understood the allure of celeste. That’s possibly down to the fact that Bianchi owners can be a tad to enthusiastic when it come to colour matching.

    It’s when they add the celeste bar tape I vom in my mouth a little bit..

    0
  32. @Beers

    @chris

    I’ve never quite understood the allure of celeste. That’s possibly down to the fact that Bianchi owners can be a tad to enthusiastic when it come to colour matching.

    It’s when they add the celeste bar tape I vom in my mouth a little bit..

    tyres, saddles, bar tape, bidons, bottle cages. Enough to fill your mouth.

    0
  33. Fuck off, heathens.

    0
  34. @Owen

    @wiscot

    @frank

    @Teocalli Total cluster fuck going on there. Must be a strangely-laid corner, and boy oh boy was he ever going too fast.

    He was going way, way too fast. Did his brakes fail? And what was up with the riders taking such a bad line into the corner? It’s a left-hander. Doesn’t that mean you hug the right side of the road going in to give you the best line? Most of those guys were in the left lane. As for the motorbike, yet another bad example of motos being clueless in US races. To stop in the middle of the lane/corner was insane. (And yes, I’m aware of what happened to GvA in San Sebastian) but I’m thinking about Phinney. Kudos to the spectators who started yelling at the riders to slow down.

    I’ve ridden up that road before and I think I know what turn that is. It’s hard to tell from this angle but the inside of the turn is murderously steep so hitting it at speed could be a huge problem. Not surprised the lines look bad.

    That poor bike *shudder*

    0
  35. There’s nothing wrong with celeste bicycles – just don’t overdo it. Frame & bar-tape; no more. My daughters first proper bike is a Bianchi and she’ll be furious with some of you chaps and your cruel jibes….. Regarding the ToU crash; horrible to watch but really, the speed and the line were all wrong, really wrong. Clear weather, dry road, closed conditions….no excuse for over-cooking it like that. Hope they recover alright.

    0
  36. @Oli Wow… that second photo in particular is seriously drool-worthy. What a beauty! If that were my bike, I’m afraid I might spend a disproportionate amount of time swooning like Froome over the stem alone. That’s a piece of art. Pretty high frame, too, from the looks of it? Would most probably fit me well. Just say the word if you ever decide to part with that particular gem: I’d provide a good home for it. Promise.

    0
  37. @ErikdR Sorry, they ain’t going nowhere!

    0
  38. @Oli Hehheh… thought as much. Can’t blame a man for trying, though, can you? (And the remark was pretty much tongue-in-cheek anyway, of course). But seriously: gorgeous machines… I doff my cap at the pair of ’em in gallant admiration.

    0
  39. @chris

    I’ve never quite understood the allure of celeste. That’s possibly down to the fact that Bianchi owners can be a tad to enthusiastic when it come to colour matching.

    Bianchi questioned Celeste a little while back and the The World has spoken!

    0
  40. @Oli Nice, very nice Celesties! Just out of interest, what does the rig with the Shamal’s weigh in at?

    0
  41. @sthilzy

    @chris

    I’ve never quite understood the allure of celeste. That’s possibly down to the fact that Bianchi owners can be a tad to enthusiastic when it come to colour matching.

    Bianchi questioned Celeste a little while back and the The World has spoken!

    Probably not The World but Bianchi owners, would be owners and wannabe Italians. I suspect the majority of people with no vested interest wouldn’t bother voting. Anyway, it might not be my choice of colour for a bike but I wouln’t change it. There are certain traditions that shouldn’t be messed with, ugly blue/green bikes, red Ferraris…

    0
  42. @wilburrox That jag looked great as a Froome wagon in the 2014 TdF. And that whole Richie Porte Winnebago nonsense during the classics made a likable powerhouse of a team pretty unlikable. And you forgot the Rapha kit and Kask helmets. It’s like they pick the most expensive gear and just get it on principle. (I should note that I have that Rapha essentials case and it is absolutely amazing.) Now that I have that out of my system, I have to give Sky respect for looking pretty fantastic and having an extremely high taste level. Of course, they probably pay a guy to make sure they look good and he probably makes more than the mechanic who insists on violating Rule #41 (i.e. Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome)

    0
  43. @Oli The yellow on those Columbus stickers ruin that bike.

    0
  44. @Owen Here’s another video of it; there is a chicane just before the corner that I think was setting the riders up to enter the turn really low. Also, you see Matt trying to stop, he’s skidding all over the place. Fucking scary as shit.

    0
  45. @wilburrox

    @ChrisO Back in 2012 David Ferehty described the golf swing of Jim Furyk as an octopus falling out of a tree. I can’t help but recall that when I watch Froome race a bike. Ferehty also had a good quote along the lines of: I haven’t done a fact check on these so if they’re not right they should be… That in some instances could be a perfect thought for use around these parts of the inter webs. Cheers

    I preferred his description of Nick Faldo’s swing – “perfectly balanced as Faldo has a chip on both shoulders”.

    0
  46. @frank Yeah if it’s where I’m thinking it is (See the hairpin at Scott’s Bowl in the picture), that turn is maybe 3/4 mile to a mile from the top. It’s a slightly windy run down until that turn up the road, then a 180 degree hairpin with a very very steep inside so you try to stay outside. Like granny gear stomping steep. I’m not surprised that someone without prior knowledge of that bend ate it. He came in way too hot for the conditions – especially considering that the road from Park City to the pass is gravel. Who knows what kind of dust was on his wheels when he hit the brakes. Now, the effing motos shouldn’t have parked where they did to cause a secondary accident – bonus points for the guy who just took off. I’ve only ridden that road in the other direction, going up – I can’t imagine ever wanting to race down it. Pants-shittingly scary is my thinking, even for a pro.

    0
  47. Now, once on the road down Big Cottonwood canyon, it’d be a blast. Big winding curves, run out of gears sort of descent. Escape velocity would be achieved.

    0
  48. @ErikdR Cheers for the kind words, and I certainly don’t blame you for (joke) trying… @sthilzy 21lb, whatever that is in kg. @frank Now you’re just being silly…

    0
  49. @Oli Your Bianchis fucking Rule. Celeste bar tape, oh hell yes.

    0
  50. This is why I love you, Gianni…

    0

Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar