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Blow to French hopes as injured Pinot pulls out of Tour two days from finish

Marco Bertorello, AFP | France's Thibaut Pinot breaks into tears after quitting the Tour de France during stage 19 on July 26, 2019.

France's Thibaut Pinot was forced to abandon the Tour de France during the 19th stage to Tignes on Friday after sustaining a thigh injury.

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Two days before the race finishes in Paris, Pinot was 1 minute, 50 seconds behind leader Julian Alaphilippe heading into Friday's Alpine stage to Tignes and was among the overall contenders still fighting for the title.

Pinot called for medical assistance in the small Montee d'Aussois climb, about 93 kilometers from the finish. The FDJ-Groupama leader had his thigh bandaged by the race doctor but his pedaling did not improve as he struggled at the back of the pack, with tears running down his face.

Pinot then stopped on the side of the road and had the bandage removed by a team assistant and rode for a few extra kilometers before calling it quits.

Along with Alaphilippe, Pinot was hoping to become the first Frenchman to win the world's most prestigious cycling race since Bernard Hinault in 1985.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)

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