BOURG-SAINT-ANDOL, France (AFP) — French climber Thibaut Pinot pulled out of the Tour de France before Friday’s 13th stage due to illness.
The 26-year-old FDJ leader had struggled on Thursday’s stage that finished on Mont Ventoux.
“Ill, Thibaut Pinot won’t start the TDF 13th stage,” said FDJ in a message on Twitter.
He had already been in difficulty earlier during the Tour, losing time in the Pyrénées — where he normally would be expected to thrive.
Pinot held the polka-dot jersey for the Tour’s best climber but lost it on Thursday to stage 12 winner Thomas De Gendt of Lotto – Soudal.
Pinot finished third in the 2014 Tour won by Italian Vincenzo Nibali. He has won two Tour stages, in 2012 and 2015.
He came into the Tour this year with high hopes of finishing in the top three, but was out of sorts from early on and lost time on the seventh stage a week ago on first major climb of this year’s race.