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French hope Thibaut Pinot to ride Giro

PARIS (AFP) — French star Thibaut Pinot confirmed on Wednesday that he will take part in this year’s Giro d’Italia before going for glory in the 2018 Tour de France.

The 27-year-old climber announced his choice as his Groupama-FDJ team unveiled its line-up for the race in Paris.

Last year, Pinot came fourth on his Giro debut, 1:17 behind race winner Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb). He also won stage 20.

Pinot then failed to finish the Tour de France, in which he finished third in 2014.

“Thibaut will go to the Giro d’Italia to do well and then he will go on to the Tour de France in good shape,” said Marc Madiot, his team manager.

“We think his participation in the Giro will set him nicely for the Tour.”

This year’s Giro starts in Jerusalem on May 4 and is set to finish on May 27 in Rome, just 41 days before the Tour de France gets underway.

The lingering question is whether Chris Froome (Sky) will start as planned. The four-time Tour de France champion is embroiled in a scandal over an adverse analytical finding from the 2017 Vuelta a España that showed he had double the legal limit of Salbutamol in his system.

At the Groupama-FDJ launch, Madiot pulled no punches, saying that Froome should stay home and not race until the affair was resolved.

“If Froome was on my team, he would not start racing until the case is settled,” Madiot said.

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