Pinot suffers Tour de France blow as Geniez is ruled out

Thibaut Pinot has suffered a setback in his bid to win the Tour de France as his FDJ teammate Alexandre Géniez has been deemed unfit to race. 

Géniez has undergone surgery after recent scans revealed a fracture to the scaphoid bone in his wrist, which dates back to the Giro d'Italia but went undetected at first. 

"In plaster for four weeks. No activity for two weeks," wrote the Frenchman on Twitter. "No Tour de France. A return possibly at the Tour de Pologne."

His absence in July is first and foremost a blow to himself, but is also a significant one to Thibaut Pinot, who perhaps represents France's highest hope for a first home winner of the Tour since Bernard Hinault in 1985.

Pinot was third overall in 2014 and won the Alpe d'Huez stage last year despite a disappointing performance from a GC perspective. After an encouraging start to 2016, in which he has won the Criterium International as well as finishing no lower than fifth at the six stage races he has entered, hopes are high for Pinot at this year's Tour. His vast improvements in the time trial discipline have also contributed to heightened expectations. 

Géniez was set to be an important support rider in the mountains and, given that this year Pinot has called for the Tour de France group to be shaped from the winter, it's an unwelcome disruption just a month away from the Grand Départ. 

Géniez's fracture initially went undetected after he abandoned the Giro during stage 4, having crashed three times in the space of two days. However, as FDJ directeur sportif Martial Gayan explained to, the pain didn't subside and he had another scan, which led to the operation and a spell on the sidelines. 

"He hurt his wrist but the initial tests back in France hadn't revealed any fracture. He therefore started training again with a view to the Tour de Suisse but it kept troubling him. Days passed, the pain didn't go away, and he therefore had another scan. This time, there was a small fracture needing an operation to insert a screw followed by a plaster."

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