“It was supposed to become a beautiful day,” Tom Dumoulin (Giant-Alpecin) sighed after stepping off of the mobile x-ray unit at the stage 3 finish in Huy. The Dutchman was forced to leave the Tour de France with a left shoulder injury after being involved in a chaotic mid-race crash.
This year's Tour de France was supposed to become a highlight in the 24-year-old’s career but it hasn’t turned out as he hoped.
Winning the opening time trial on home soil in Utrecht on Saturday was a big target but he ended up finishing fourth at six seconds behind winner Rohan Dennis (BMC).
He looked to stage 2 on Sunday as another opportunity to put on the yellow jersey. Overall leader Dennis didn’t feature in the front group but Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing) was there, and he took over the maillot jaune.
Perhaps stage 3 on Monday? With a steep uphill finish on the Mur de Huy there were chances for Dumoulin. He recently finished third overall in the Tour de Suisse, so it was realistic to think that he could climb better than Cancellara and Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep), who were ahead of him in GC.
Stage 3 was supposed to become a highlight in his career, however, a high-speed crash in the peloton at 60km from Huy injured his shoulder, shattered his dreams, and he was forced to abandon the race.
Afterwards he showed up at the finish where medics took x-rays, his left shoulder bandaged up. When asked if he was still in pain he smiled, “Not anymore. I’m full of painkillers. But it hurt a lot,” Dumoulin told NOS.
“It’s not going too well. There’s probably a fracture on the head of my shoulder. My shoulder was out of the socket but it was popped in again.”
The doctors later confirmed that he had an "imression fracture of the glenohumeral joint".
Dumoulin went on to describe how the crash happened, “I remember everything. William Bonnet from FDJ fell, I don’t know why. I tried to go around him on the right hand side. Then a bike knocked against me. I went over the handlebars in some sort of superman-position into the grass. Then my shoulder popped out,” Dumoulin said.
“It was possible to put it back into the socket. There are different ways of getting your shoulder out but with this one it was no longer possible to ride.”
While the race was neutralized and later also halted, Dumoulin was among the first riders forced to abandon the Tour de France.