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Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) will miss the 2019 Tour de France.
The 28-year-old Dutchman, runner-up at the 2018 Tour, will not start this year’s edition of the race as he has been unable to put lingering knee pain behind him following a crash at the Giro d’Italia.
“The last month has been extremely difficult overall, and with the setbacks in the knee recovery. After what happened at the Giro I really wanted to go for it in the Tour, but this week I realized it’s just not realistic for my level to be there in time,” Dumoulin said in a Sunweb statement.
“I’ve tried so hard to get there but I really have to listen to my body and release myself from chasing an unrealistic goal.”
Dumoulin crashed on stage 4 of May’s Giro d’Italia, and abandoned the race the next day. The knee injury he suffered in the incident forced him to alter his plans and target the Tour, but one month on from his fall, he has continued to battle lingering pain.
He pulled out of the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, and underwent minor surgery to remove a small piece of gravel still embedded in the knee. Sunweb announced on Monday that the surgery was a success and that Dumoulin was heading to an altitude training camp, but NOS reported the next day that Dumoulin never made it to the mountains, turning his car around as he did not yet feel ready to resume training.
On Thursday, Sunweb announced that he had been ruled out of a Tour start.
“Tom was really eager to be ready in time for the Tour and he tried all he could, but now the conclusion is that it’s simply not possible,” team physician Anko Boelens said. “We trusted in the process of rest, recuperation and a gradual return to racing but like in any recovery, there have been setbacks.
“Time isn’t on our side anymore to cater for setbacks so to give Tom the time he needs to get back to complete fitness can only be the right decision.”
With Ineos’s Chris Froome forced to miss the Tour due to a crash of his own, Dumoulin was looking like a strong contender for the overall title at the upcoming race. Now, he joins Froome on the growing list of stars forced to miss the French Grand Tour due to injury.