The Groupama-FDJ team have announced that Thibaut Pinot will not ride the Tour de France because the Frenchman has struggled to fully recover from the fatigue and pneumonia that forced him to quit the Giro d’Italia before the final stage in Rome.
The French team said it will now hope Arnaud Demare can win sprint stages, with David Gaudu named as a replacement for Pinot. The 21-year-old climber won the 2016 Tour de l'Avenir and made his professional debut in 2017. He needed nine stitches in a hand wound during the Criterium du Dauphine but fought the pain to finish the race.
Despite resting since the Giro d’Italia, the results of recent medical check-ups have ruled Pinot out of the Tour de France, forcing Groupama-FDJ to make a final decision on its eight-rider squad for the Tour de France.
Pinot is expected to work on making a full recovery during July so he can target the Vuelta a Espana and then tough world road race championships in Innsbruck, Austria.
"I am extremely disappointed because the Tour de France, the biggest race of the calendar, was a major goal of my season,” Pinot said in a statement issued by the Groupama-FDJ team.
“During the Giro d’Italia, I competed with the best to the end. I wanted to reproduce that on the Tour de France, I felt capable of that. Unfortunately, I cannot be competitive at the moment. The decision has been taken and I’m already motivated and turning to new goals."
Marc Madiot had given Pinot the green light to target the Giro d’Italia in 2018 despite struggling and eventually quitting the 2017 Tour de France after finishing fourth in the Corsa Rosa. Now he has been forced to rebuild his squad just three weeks before the start of the Tour de France.
"We are obviously disappointed by the absence of Thibaut Pinot because everyone knows his qualities and the ambition we had with him,” Madiot said.
“Arnaud Démare is a sure bet, and the ambitions of the team remain strong. While David Gaudu is certainly young, he has a huge talent and is already doing well. In 2012, Thibaut Pinot was in the same situation and we know what happened. I have great confidence in the collective that we will reveal very soon."