Emotional Pinot abandons Tour de France

A tearful Thibaut Pinot abandoned the Tour de France two days before its conclusion after being hampered by a thigh injury.

Pinot had been a strong contender to win the title in his homeland, but he struggled during stage 18 on Thursday.

The Groupama–FDJ rider found it difficult to walk after finishing the 208km stage and sought out the medical car early in stage 19 on Friday.

Pinot had his left thigh re-strapped before climbing off his bike in emotional scenes, with his bid to win the yellow jersey over.

The 29-year-old had slipped to fifth in the general classification after sustaining the injury. Pinot opted against starting the Tour last year, having struggled with illness at the Giro d'Italia.

As the 2019 Tour continued without Pinot, Julian Alaphilippe was left carrying the hopes of a nation on his shoulders, striving to become the first Frenchman to win the race for 34 years.

Alaphilippe led Egan Bernal by 90 seconds heading into the 19th stage.

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