Thibaut Pinot has suggested that he could prioritise the Giro d'Italia over the Tour de France, saying that the pink jersey is the "only thing missing" from his career.
Pinot missed much of last season with a back injury, but is set to return to Grand Tour action in 2022.
The Groupama-FDJ star has hinted that he may be plotting a trip to Italy in the spring for the first of the year's three-week stage races, having finished fourth in the Giro in 2017 before being forced to withdraw in the final days of the 2018 edition with fever.
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Often mentioned as the likeliest rider to end the long wait for a home winner of the Tour de France, Pinot is yet to spend a day in the yellow jersey and has not placed in the top ten since finishing third in 2014, failing to finish on four occasions.
And though Groupama-FDJ manager Marc Madiot said in October that there was "a big chance" that Pinot returns to his marquee home race, the 31-year-old has emphasised that wearing the yellow jersey has always felt beyond him.
"For me, the yellow jersey is... how can I put it? I stay in the real world. The Tour de France yellow jersey has always been, for me as a kid, something too big," Pinot elaborated in an interview with French newspaper Ouest-France.
"So I have always dreamed of wearing the pink jersey. I checked off: being the French champion, winning stages in the three Grand Tours, winning Il Lombardia... wearing the Giro d'Italia pink jersey is the only thing I'm missing."
Pinot is currently training in the Canary Islands with Groupama-FDJ while finalising his plans for the 2022 season.
He made only 39 race-day appearances in a disrupted 2021.
However Pinot believes he can still contend with the peloton's leading riders when back to full health, and hopes he can give his fans something to cheer.
"We're waiting to hurt the others again," Pinot said.
"I've got a lot of frustration about this – not being able to exploit what I've got under the bonnet over the last two years.
"I want to give emotions to the people who support me. I want to give them pleasure in the coming years, especially this year."
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