Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) pulled out of the Criterium du Dauphine before the start of stage 7, Saturday.
The Dutchman crashed hard only one month ago in the Giro d’Italia, heavily injuring his knee and pulling out of the race the next day. He went into the eight-day Dauphine still nursing the effects of the fall.
“During the night the swelling [in my knee] came back, and I have the feeling it’s better not to push my luck,” said Dumoulin. “I’ll rest up this weekend and then get back to altitude training on Monday with a view to getting in a block of quality training for the Tour.”
With Chris Froome (Ineos) out of the Tour following the horrific crash previewing Wednesday’s time trial, Dumoulin is a strong contender for July’s race.
Having been sidelined since the Giro crash, Dumoulin was showing good signs at the Dauphine, placing third in a highly competitive time trial won by Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
“This is above all a preventative measure,” Sunweb team doctor Camiel Aldershof said. “Tom was feeling good yesterday, but the swelling came back during the night so we all thought it would be better to rest rather than do this final weekend of climbing at the Dauphine.”