Thibaut Pinot put in an amazing ride yesterday to take the stage win. For a 22 year old guy, it had to feel amazing to cross the line first, even more importantly; to salvage the pride of his countrymen in what has again been a bad Tour for the French.
When he stormed up the last climb and blew by the then lone leader you knew what he had in mind. I'm sure his team manager, Mark Madiot had already made it crystal clear to him that he wasn't to catch Fredrik Kessiakoff and work with him to the finish, but instead blow by and ride like an animal to the finish.
With 12km or so to go and only flat roads in front of him the stage was set. He was something like a minute ahead of a 10 rider group that contained all of the Tour's big contenders. Guys like Brad Wiggins, Cadel Evans, Vincenzo Nibali, and Denis Menchov; all of whom seemed to be intent on eating Pinot for lunch.
As the kilometers clicked by and Pinot struggled to keep his time losses to around 5 seconds a kilometer, his team manager would pull up in the car to provide some rather animated encouragement, with his screams of Allez! Allez!: