Thomas Dekker (Garmin-Barracuda) has ruled himself out of the Giro d’Italia due to the effects of a knee injury sustained in a crash at Liège-Bastogne-Liège. The Dutchman complained that the injury continued to flare up when he returned to training in recent days.
“If I started, there would be too big a risk that I would have to pull out after a few days,” Dekker said in a statement released by his management company. “It’s too much to start a Grand Tour if you’re not at 100 percent.”
The injury means that Dekker’s wait to return to the Grand Tours will now stretch to at least five years. His last participation in a three-week race came at the 2007 Tour de France. In the intervening period, he served a two-year ban for a positive test for EPO, and only returned to the professional peloton with the Chipotle Development team midway through last season, before earning promotion to the WorldTour squad in 2012.
“I’ve spoken with the team management and my programme has been overhauled,” Dekker said. “I’m still going to do a Grand Tour this year, either the Tour de France or the Vuelta a España.”
The 27-year-old Dekker’s revised race programme should now see him line up at the Tour of Norway (May 16-20), as he builds towards the second half of the season. In April, Dekker took his first individual victory since the end of his suspension when he won stage four of the Circuit de la Sarthe.
“I need to recover from this injury and will probably start again at the Tour of Norway,” he said. “It’s a pity because I would have liked to have done the Giro, but I’m glad that I’ve been able to set some new goals immediately.”
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