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Thibaut Pinot abandons 2019 Tour de France with injury

The only man who looked like he could challenge both Team Ineos and Julian Alaphilippe in the final stages is on his way home

Jack Elton-Walters
26 Jul 2019

Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) has been forced to abandon the 2019 Tour de France with injury. The rider had been in the yellow jersey group in the opening kilometres of Stage 19 from Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne to Tignes when he called for assistance from the medical car.

As he began to drop further and further behind the rest of the main group, it was telling that when teammates who had already been dropped came up to Pinot, they did not assume position in front to try pace him back but instead patted him on the back and rode away, a clear indication of the seriousness of Pinot's situation.

The race doctor bandaged Pinot's left leg but within minutes the rider pulled to the side of the road and had the bandage removed again by an FDJ soigneur.

With a pained expression on his face, it was clear that the man who lit this race up in the Pyrenees wouldn't be doing the same again as the race headed into the altitude of the Alps. He rode on for another few minutes but was only getting further and further behind his GC rivals, the end of his race clearly imminent.

According to Pinot's team, he banged his knee a couple of stages back and cycled through the pain on Stage 18. This would explain why he wasn't able to attack his rivals before the final descent as expected, and it looks like the injury has only got worse overnight.

In tears, the rider who with Julian Alaphilippe had given French fans – and those of us keen for someone to end Team Sky/Ineos's streak – reason to hope this could finally be the year, was summoned to the side of the road by his team and called time on his Tour de France.

It will serve as little comfort to him now, but at 29 years old Pinot should at least have a few Tours left to realise his full potential.