The Team Sunweb leader signed on despite seemingly limping as he walked to his bike, saying he wanted to at least try to continue in the Giro d’Italia. However, the pain in his left knee, combined with the uphill start and the heavy rain, proved to be too much, ending his Giro d’Italia.
Before the start Dumoulin said: "I don’t know if it’s possible but I want to at least try, then I can’t blame myself for not trying."
"My knee is pretty bruised so I don’t know if it’s possible to give enough power to finish the stage. This morning I tried on the trainer and I wasn’t overly excited, lets say like that. I can do easy riding but as soon as I stand up on the pedals, or give more power, it was impossible, so I think my chances are not so big."
The Dutchman hit the deck when several riders crashed with six kilometres to go on stage 4 on Tuesday, suffering a wound above his knee that looked to have been caused by a chainring. He crossed the finish line more than four minutes behind the stage winner Richard Carapaz and race leader Primoz Roglic, and declared his GC challenge over.
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As he limped onto his team bus, his very presence in the race hung in the balance but Team Sunweb confirmed that he would indeed start the stage to Terracina.
"Medically speaking he is cleared to race, but the day’s eventuality is dependent on how much pain his knee brings," said Team Sunweb physician Stephan Jacolino. "Hopefully it goes well and the pain subsides as the day goes on."
That turned out not to be the case and Dumoulin climbed off after riding the rain-soaked neutralised sector and a kilometre of the stage.
Dumoulin is now expected to head home to the Netherlands in the hope of recovering as quickly as possible so he can prepare for the Tour de France.