According to his Groupama-FDJ team, Pinot was fighting the pain of a muscle tear in his thigh and was unable to continue. He first felt the pain after Thursday stage and had trouble walking yesterday evening. He started stage 19 but the pain proved too much for him to continue.
Pinot was fifth overall, 1:50 down on Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and was expected to go on the attack in the final mountain stages to try to win the Tour de France. Instead he ended the race in tears on the Montee d'Aussios.
It was clear Pinot was suffering greatly when he called for the Tour de France doctor's car after 30km of the decisive mountain stage to Tignes.
The doctor removed a bandage and applied a bigger bandage around his lower thigh after cutting away part of Pinot's shorts. Soon after the Groupama-FDJ team car pulled up alongside a visibly emotional and visibly struggling Pinot.
His teammates Rudy Molard and Anthony Roux rode past and patted him on the shoulder but did not wait for him. It seemed that Pinot's teammates were already aware that he had an issue.
Pinot decided to remove the bandage and stopped on the roadside. Directeur sportif Philippe Mauduit and the team mechanic helped to remove the bandage and Pinot started riding again but he was unable to push hard.
He tried to ride on but was in tears and more than four minutes behind the peloton. With 86km to go, Pinot hugged teammate Matthieu Ladagnous, climbed off and got into the Groupama-FDJ team car.
"We knew that Thibaut was suffering but but we tried to race on," Mauduit told French television from the race. "It's a muscle problem caused when he avoided a crash two days ago. He suffered yesterday but today there was nothing he could do."
It is the fourth time that Pinot has failed to finish the Tour de France after also struggling in 2013, 2016 and 2017. He was forced out of the 2018 Giro d'Italia after suffering pneumonia and extreme fatigue.
For further details and live updates on the racing and Pinot's dramatic abandon, follow our live coverage here.
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