Tom Dumoulin has decided to quit the Criterium du Dauphine before the decisive mountain stages after feeling some ‘irritation’ in the knee he injured at the Giro d’Italia. The Team Sunweb leader is still expected to ride the Tour de France but will travel back to the Netherlands for a scan before heading to altitude on Monday for a final block of training.
“It’s been a solid week of racing and it was good to gain some racing rhythm. Yesterday after the stage I felt pretty good, but during the evening the irritation started to come back. I feel like there’s no need to push it with the knee, so rest is a good option before I continue with a quality training block at altitude,” Dumoulin said via Team Sunweb.
“It's been good to get back into the rhythm of it but don't want to push the knee. Will rest for the weekend then back to it at altitude on Monday!” Dumoulin wrote on social media.
A chainring cut deep into his knee, injuring a tendon and leaving a tiny metal shard under his skin. He used the French stage race to test his form and his knee. He went on the attack on stage 2 but then dropped out of overall contention. He rode a good time trial on Wednesday, finishing third but sat up at the start of the final climb of Friday’s stage.
Dumoulin and Team Sunweb are walking a fine line between working on the fitness the Dutchman needs to be competitive at the Tour de France and avoiding irritating his knee. They are following a cautious strategy considering the high-stakes and the risk of damaging Dumoulin’s chances at the Tour de France.
“This is more a preventative measure than anything. Ahead of the Dauphiné we said we would take no risk, and that’s exactly what we’re doing,” Team Sunweb doctor Camiel Aldershof explained.
“This week has been pretty satisfactory; we’ve monitored the situation everyday and of course had ups and downs, but that was to be expected. Initially after feeling good yesterday, the irritation returned during the evening so we decided some extra rest ahead of altitude would be better than continuing to push into the mountains here in France.”