Perennial French major tour hope Thibaut Pinot said on Saturday that he would skip the Giro d’Italia because of back pain.

“I can’t hide from myself,” the 30-year-old said in a statement by his team, Groupama-FDJ.

“I’m not in condition to shine in the Giro. I would suffer unnecessarily and I wouldn’t be able to help the team. It’s not even a question of form, but the pain in my back prevents me from performing well.”

Pinot had said the Giro, which starts on May 8, was his main target for the season and he had already opted to skip the Tour de France.

“We did everything we could to make sure I could start the race in the form I normally do,” said Pinot, who finished third in the 2014 Tour de France.

“I want to heal myself, leave these back problems behind me to find my level and fight with the best”.

He finished the five-day Tour of the Alps on Friday in 60th place overall, 25:35 behind the winner, Simon Yates of Britain, and called his week “catastrophic”.

Pinot has been suffering from back pain since a crash on the first stage of the Tour de France at the end of August in Nice.

He completed the Tour de France, finishing 29th overall. He then entered the Vuelta a Espana but retired after two stages.

RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini

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