Tom Dumoulin knows he will be riding through the pain barrier at the Olympic Games time trial in Rio next Wednesday but he expects to be fit enough to deliver the kind of performance he'd have expected before he broke his wrist at the Tour de France.
The Dutchman won the undulating stage 13 time trial at the Tour last month and immediately appointed himself the favourite for the hilly course in Rio, only to see his major objective of the year jeopardised when he fractured his radius bone in a crash on stage 19.
He was back on the bike just four days after exiting the Tour and flew to Rio at the weekend, where he has been training on the time trial course.
“The expectation is that I will be fit in time. I've also heard that I can't do any more damage. It still needs to improve, but I am able to train," Dumoulin, who was fitted with a special plastic splint in Holland last week, told the Dutch TV station NOS.
With his legs clearly in great shape after time trial and road stage wins at the Tour de France, it is only his bike handling that represents the major hurdle.
"I have a full week get control of my steering. It will hurt, but I am able to suppress the pain," said the 25-year-old.
"It's a good course for me, but there is a very steep climb and a steep descent – that will be rather tricky with the wrist. It puts a strain on the muscles in my forearm, which have to compensate. But the expectation is that it will work out.”
Given the precarious situation he finds himself in, it may come as a surprise that Dumoulin is still planning to ride the road race this coming Sunday.
The last time he was in a bunch he crashed and broke the wrist, and now he plans to return to the peloton with his handling severely hampered, just three days ahead of the race he's been working towards since the winter.
"The time trial is the important one, but if I have good legs, I want to participate in the road race," said Dumoulin, who will compete alongside Wout Poels, Steven Kruijswijk, and Bauke Mollema on Sunday.
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