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Another major contender will not be riding the 2019 Tour de France.
Tom Dumoulin announced today that he will miss the Tour. After crashing and abandoning the Giro d’Italia in May, then dropping out of the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Sunweb captain underwent surgery earlier this month to remove gravel from his knee. The physically challenging run up to the race has proven difficult for the Dutchman. According to a statement from his team, because he is unable to be in the best possible shape to tackle three hard weeks of racing in France, he has chosen to bow out.
“The last month has been extremely difficult overall, and with the setbacks in the knee recovery,” Dumoulin said in a statement. “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. 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.”
Throughout Dumoulin’s various ups and downs, hope prevailed. After Chris Froome suffered devastating injuries at the Dauphiné, then his Ineos teammate Geraint Thomas crashed and abandoned the Tour de Suisse, Dumoulin’s prospects for contending for the Tour win steadily rose. However, the string of injuries and setbacks proved too much for the 2017 Giro d’Italia winner. The 28-year-old has instead chosen to recover from what’s been a very difficult period.
“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,” said Team Sunweb physician Anko Boelens. “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. Despite his strong will and ambition to race the Tour, it’s better to let this goal go this year in favor of optimum recovery.”