By Julien Pretot
TIGNES, France (Reuters) – A tearful Thibaut Pinot abandoned the Tour de France with a thigh injury during the 19th stage on Friday.
The Groupama-FDJ rider, who according to team sources sustained a muscle strain on Thursday, climbed into his team car with 87 kilometres to go in the 126.5km mountain trek from St Jean de Maurienne.
He was fifth overall, 1:50 behind race leader Julian Alaphilippe of France, and still had a genuine shot at the title after riding impressively in the Pyrenees last week.
Pinot had his left thigh strapped by the race doctor but could not pedal properly and threw in the towel after being comforted by his team mate William Bonnet.
The 29-year-old, who was third overall in the 2014 Tour, was also forced to abandon the Giro d’Italia last year after cracking on the 20th stage while third overall due to a bout of pneumonia.
(Editing by Toby Davis)