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Pinot selected to bid adieu to French fans in final Tour

Thibaut Pinot. Photo: Anne-Christine Pojoulat/AFP

Thibaut Pinot, who followed his announcement that he will retire after this season with a spectacular Giro d’Italia, was selected on Tuesday for the Tour de France by his team.

Groupama-FDJ team announced five of their eight riders for the Tour, which runs from July 1 to 23 and included the 33-year-old Frenchman.

It will be Pinot’s 10th appearance in the race. He finished third in 2014.

Pinot’s focus at the start of the season was the Giro but after finishing fifth overall, taking the King of Mountains classification and finishing second in two mountain-top finishes, he has been granted his wish of a farewell Tour.

The Giro winner was Primoz Roglic, who is also 33. Runner-up Geraint Thomas, who is 37 and fourth-placed Damiano Caruso, 35, are older than the retiring Frenchman. 

For the Tour, Groupama-FDJ also selected Frenchmen David Gaudu, who was fourth overall last year, and Valentin Madouas as well as Luxembourger Kevin Geniets and Swiss rider Stefan Kung.

The team announced that French sprinter Arnaud Demare would not be going to the Tour. 

“Our team will be focused on the mountains. The objective is of course the general classification with David Gaudu,” said team manager Marc Madiot in a press release. 

“We’ll also allow ourselves to go on the offensive with Thibaut Pinot, Valentin Madouas or Stefan Kung,” Madiot added.

The decision to drop Demare comes after critical comments from Gaudu in an on-line cycling chat went public in January.

“He knows that I don’t want him at the Tour, I already told him,” wrote Gaudu who has long feuded with Demare. Gaudu later apologised.

“It was a difficult selection to make, especially the decision not to retain Arnaud Demare,” said Madiot.

“I can understand his disappointment.”

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