Dumoulin undergoes surgery ahead of Tour bid

Sunweb team leader has gravel removed from knee as he ramps up preparations for the Tour de France

It’s been a bumpy road, but Tom Dumoulin’s chances of racing the Tour de France remain alive.

Just 48 hours after dropping out of the Critérium du Dauphiné, the Sunweb captain underwent minor surgery to remove a shard of gravel in his knee.

According to Sunweb team doctors, things went relatively well, and last year’s Tour runner-up will resume training for next month’s Tour.

“Tom underwent minor surgery [Sunday], in which they removed what initially looked like a metal splinter, but was ultimately a tiny shard of gravel,” said Sunweb doctor Camiel Aldershof. “Tom did a test ride [Monday] morning and after all went well, the decision is made to clear him to travel to altitude and continue his preparations.”

Dumoulin crashed out of the Giro d’Italia last month after a heavy fall in stage 4. He returned to racing last week at the Dauphiné, but was complaining of nagging knee pain throughout the week. He did not start Saturday’s stage and doctors decided to remove a piece of gravel wedged under the skin in his knee.

Dumoulin had openly raised doubts about his ability to race the Tour de France if his knee pain continued. After abandoning the French race, Dumoulin went straight to a medical center for a check-up. Doctors didn’t waste any time and Dumoulin has already been cleared to travel.

“We decided to remove the piece because it was causing a slight inflammatory reaction,” Dr. Aldershof said. “Progression will be closely monitored day by day, possibly adapting training plans accordingly, but the signs are good already.”

Dumoulin will head to Sierra Nevada in southern Spain to train at altitude ahead of the start of the Tour on July 6 in Brussels.

Following the crash of Chris Froome (Ineos) last week in France that will keep the four-time Tour winner out of the race, Dumoulin will be one of the top favorites for victory. Officials hope that Dumoulin will be able to make the start line in Brussels.