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Thibaut Pinot (FDJ)
FDJ.fr captain admitted to fear of descending
Thibaut Pinot finished tenth in the Tour de France in 2012 but won't finish the race this year. His team FDJ.fr announced that he would not take to the start of the 16th stage on Tuesday, due to a sore throat.
Pinot suffered through the second week of the Tour after losing time on the descent of Col de Pailheres in the Pyrenees. He was 52nd in the general classification, 1:05.25 down on race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky). The Frenchman admitted that he had major problems on testing descents. "Some people are afraid of spiders or snakes. I'm afraid of speed. It's a phobia," he confessed.
Ever since a serious crash when he was younger, Pinot has struggled on descents. The team has worked with him to help overcome the problem. However, the pressure of being team captain in only his second Tour has apparently been too much for him. He lost more than 25 minutes on the stage to Ax 3 Domaines and told L'Equipe, “When I saw that I was not able to stay on the wheel of a rider like Mark Cavendish on the descent off a mountain pass, I asked myself: ‘What am I doing on the Tour?' I received the clear response that I have nothing to do here."
He had hoped to turn things around on Mont Ventoux on Sunday, but he lost 19:59.