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Thibaut Pinot will skip Tour de France to focus on Giro d’Italia

107th Tour de France 2020 - Stage 20

LA PLANCHE, FRANCE - SEPTEMBER 19: Arrival / Thibaut Pinot of France and Team Groupama - FDJ / during the 107th Tour de France 2020, Stage 20 a 36,2km Individual Time Trial stage from Lure to La Planche Des Belles Filles 1035m / ITT / #TDF2020 / @LeTour / on September 19, 2020 in La Planche, France. (Photo by Marco Bertorello - Pool/Getty Images)

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PARIS -- Frenchman Thibaut Pinot won’t compete at the Tour de France this year, skipping his home race to focus on the Giro d’Italia.

Pinot, a talented rider with flair and strong climbing abilities, has enjoyed mixed fortunes at cycling’s biggest event. Last year, he went into the race with the goal of ending a 35-year drought for France but crashed in the opening stage and finished 29th in the general classification.

It was the latest setback for Pinot at the Tour. A third-place finisher in 2014, the Groupama-FDJ rider has only finished it twice since then.

Pinot skipped the Tour three years ago to focus on the Giro, where he was forced to abandon because of severe pneumonia while fighting for the title. He returned to the Tour in 2019, looking like the strongest climber in the Pyrenees only to quit the race in tears within touching distance of Paris because of a left-leg injury.

“I think the time has come for me to return to the Giro,” Pinot said Tuesday during a team presentation, adding that the Tour course did not suit his abilities this year. “Hopefully I will be back on the Tour in 2022, that’s the goal.”

The route of the Giro has yet to be unveiled. Pinot’s best result at the three-week race around Italy is a fourth-place finish achieved in 2017 on his debut.

Groupama-FDJ said will deploy its ace sprinter Arnaud Demare at the Tour following a strong 2020 season when he secured 14 wins.