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Tom Dumoulin abandons Giro d'Italia during frantic stage 14

POTom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma)
Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) (Image credit: Getty Images)

Tom Dumoulin abandoned the Giro d'Italia during stage 14 from Santena to Torino on Saturday. The Dutchman had hoped that his lingering back pain would improve, however, he pulled to the side of the road at just over 50km into the race, which was fast from the very start.

"It's a little better. It's the same problem I had already the whole season and when the intensity goes up then I get problems with my back. Hopefully it's getting better," said the Jumbo-Visma rider.

"It actually got better the last few days and hopefully it will still improve, and I'll at least be able to make the most out of the race," a hopeful Dumoulin said ahead of stage 14 in Santena.

"Like I said, when I'm training I don't really have problems with it, but as soon as the intensity goes up, I feel it. We'll assess after the Giro, but now there's not really time. There's treatment and that makes it better."

Jumbo-Visma confirmed that Dumoulin had abandoned the stage in a post on social media, stating, "Tom had been struggling with his physical condition for several days."

In a press release published during the stage on the Jumbo-Visma website, Dumoulin expanded on his form and related injury saying, “The tank is empty. I don't really know what to say about it at the moment. This is very disappointing. I can't kick power without it hurting. The shape is simply not there. At the moment I don't have an answer to the question of why that is."

Dumoulin confirmed that over the last two weeks of racing, he gradually found that he was unable to get the best out of himself. 

“I noticed that I didn't have the best legs in this Giro. Nevertheless, I was eager to finish this round and finish in Verona with the rest of the team. I wanted to at least get the necessary race kilometers on the legs. I boosted myself every morning to make the most of it, but I simply can't. The body is currently finished," he said in the press statement.

Dumoulin, who won the overall title at the 2017 Giro d'Italia, admitted that he was struggling with a lingering back injury at this year’s race, after falling more than 19 minutes down in the general classification. In a brief interview (opens in new tab) with Eurosport after stage 11 in Reggio Emilia, Dumoulin said, “To be honest, I have some issue with my back, so it is not great.”

After a hiatus from the sport, Dumoulin returned to the WorldTour racing a short calendar last year at Tour de Suisse, Dutch Road Championships where he won the time trial, Tokyo Olympic Games where he secured the silver medal in the time trial, and Benelux Tour. 

Dumoulin showed impressive form in the stage 2 time trial of the Giro d’Italia in Budapest, finishing third, however, only a few days later he was dropped by a group of favourites on the ascent of Etna on stage 4 of the race, struggling to keep pace on a 14% incline.

He went on to take fourth on stage  7, assisting his teammate Koen Bouwman to victory. However, the team no longer had an overall contender in the race.

“Those are the beautiful things that I have been able to experience this Giro. I was able to enjoy that. But the last few days it was mostly hard. I'm going home now and I'm going to give this disappointment a place. Then we'll see again," he said in the press statement.

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in cycling from the community and grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all men's and women's races including Spring Classics, Grand Tours, World Championships and Olympic Games, and writes and edits news and features. As the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten also coordinates and oversees the global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.