Dumoulin's Tour de France altitude camp postponed

Ongoing knee problems see Dutchman turn around en route to French Alps

Tom Dumoulin has suffered a further setback in his race to be ready for the Tour de France, as his altitude camp has been postponed to allow him to rest the knee he injured at the Giro d'Italia.

Dumoulin left the Giro on stage 5 and switched his attentions to the Tour, but has been suffering with the effects of the blow to the knee. He pulled out of the recent Critérium du Dauphiné after stage 5 due to irritation in the knee and underwent surgery on Sunday to remove a shard of gravel that was still in there.

In announcing the outcome of the surgery, Team Sunweb said Dumoulin had undergone a test ride and had been cleared to travel to altitude to continue his preparation for the Tour, which begins in Brussels on July 6.

He was set to head to La Plagne, a ski resort in the Alps close to the three mountain stages in the Tour's final week, on Monday afternoon. However, the team issued another update on Tuesday afternoon in which they revealed Dumoulin's departure to the French Alps had been pushed back by 'a few days'.

"After initially deciding to make the trip to La Plagne, it was decided to stay a little longer at home at the last moment," read the statement.

According to Sunweb coach Hendrik Werner, it really was at the last moment, as he revealed Dumoulin had already left his home in Maastricht by car when the plug was pulled. 

"He called me twice on the way yesterday," Werner told Dutch broadcaster NOS. "He asked himself the question, 'Am I ready?', and he turned the car around."

Team Sunweb announced on Tuesday that Dumoulin's knee is still is such a way that they are having to tread cautiously. 

"Yesterday the team reported he was cleared to travel to altitude camp after test ride in the morning, but the travel has been postposed for a few days," continued the statement.

"It has been a hectic week for the 28-year-old with various ups and downs. The additional few days at home allow Tom to take it easy with his knee and take some extra relaxed days."

The development casts doubts over Dumoulin's prospects of starting the Tour de France, let alone competing for the yellow jersey.

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