Instead, Dumoulin will head off for a final block of altitude training with his Sunweb team before stage one of the Tour de France 2019 rolls out of Brussels on July 6.
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His Team Sunweb doctor, Camiel Aldershof, explained that it was more of a preventative measure, saying the team did not want to risk Dumoulin’s condition. “This week has been pretty satisfactory,” Aldershof continued. “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.”
The Dutchman was involved in a big crash 5km before the finish line on stage four of the Giro d’Italia 2019, and managed 1.5km of stage five the following day before abandoning the race.
Dumoulin suffered a big cut to his knee, having rolled across the finish line of stage four with blood pouring down his leg, and had still been suffering from the affects of the wound for a time afterwards as he had a metal splinter in his knee.
After taking a week to rest, Dumoulin turned his attention to going all-in for the Tour de France, having before targeted both the Italian and French Grand Tours. Before starting the Dauphiné, the 28-year-old admitted it would be difficult for him to get in good shape in time for the Tour, saying: “I still have some fluid in the knee and the cartilage is a bit damaged. It was a big bone bruise.
“I was able to train really well last week, but I did notice it,” he continued. “I noticed that I had more problems in the last hour than in the first hour. That’s not ideal.”
Dumoulin went on to admit during the Dauphiné that riding the Tour wouldn’t make much sense if his knee didn’t improve in time. He had so far been unable to contest the general classification, sitting in 42nd place after stage six, and more than 13 minutes down on race leader Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott).
Following the announcement of his withdrawal from the Dauphiné, Dumoulin said: “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.”