Tom Dumoulin (Team Sunweb) says he is having doubts about being able to contend for overall victory at the Tour de France due to the knee injury he suffered in a crash on stage 4 of the Giro d'Italia.
Dumoulin told Nos.nl that if the upcoming Criterium du Dauphine does not go well, "If it is really disappointing, it will be difficult to get the Tour in good shape. Then I may have to adjust my ambitions. Two weeks ago I thought I would have no doubts now, but I have those doubts."
Dumoulin abandoned the Giro d'Italia due to the knee pain, and said he still suffers from the effects of the injury almost three weeks later.
"I still have some fluid in the knee, and the cartilage is a bit damaged. It was a big bone bruise," Dumoulin said.
He resumed training but has not been pain-free, and is using the Dauphine as a test to see if he can be competitive in the Tour de France.
"I was able to train really well last week, but it did give some reaction. I noticed that I had more problems in the last hour than in the first hour. That is not ideal.
"If I find out after a few days in the Dauphiné that it causes too much pain, it can cause cartilage wear. If I have too much pain after a few days, I have to get off. But last week it went fine, I hope I can continue along that line."
When asked if he could still be considered a top favourite for the Tour, Dumoulin was cautious. "That seems a bit premature to me, that's not how I feel at the moment," Dumoulin joked. "But I hope that it can change in the coming weeks."