Thibaut Pinot decides to end season early to focus on 2020 return

The Frenchman will not defend his Il Lombardia title

Thibaut Pinot at the 2019 Tour de France (Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Thibaut Pinot has decided to end his season early in order to focus on a "very important" 2020 campaign, where he will target the Tour de France, a race he came close to winning this year.

The Frenchman's call to finish his season in early September means he will forgo the opportunity to defend his Il Lombardia title, having beaten Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) by 30 seconds as he claimed his first ever Monument.

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Pinot had been believed to be making his comeback at the Tour of Slovenia, following his abandon of the Tour de France in tears through injury as he closed in on the yellow jersey in the final stages. However, he says he feels "fatigued" and his crash caused him to take three weeks off the bike, disrupting his race and training schedule.

"I feel quite fatigued in a general way. After the Tour de France, I had to cut three weeks," Pinot said. "This forced rest does not allow me to be 100% for the rest of the season, including the Tour of Lombardy, which I am the outgoing winner and where I wanted to put my victory at stake, being able to fight with the best. My current state will not allow me to be competitive enough."

Pinot has already vowed to return to the Tour de France in 2020, having said he was convinced he stood a good chance of winning his home Grand Tour this year, sitting just 20 seconds behind Ineos' Egan Bernal on stage 19, before his abandon. Pinot said while he wont be racing he will continue to train for the rest of the month before taking time off during the winter break.

"I am already thinking of 2020, which will be a very important season for me. I am already planning for new goals and want to find my best level as soon as possible. For that, I will continue to train conscientiously until the end of September, to approach the winter break without accumulating too much delay on my physical form."

While Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) delighted home fans at this year's Tour with their attacking panache and willingness to take the race to the likes of Ineos, one French rider who disappointed was Romain Bardet.

The Ag2r La Mondiale climber has also called his 2019 season early following his lacklustre GC challenge at the Tour, although he did come away with the consolation prize of the polka dot jersey.

The Frenchman later revealed he had thought about quitting racing altogether following his Tour de France disappointment.

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.