Tom Dumoulin said racing the Tour de France “doesn’t make much sense” if he hasn’t fully recovered from injury.
The Sunweb leader suffered a nasty gash to his left knee during the opening week of the Giro d’Italia, which forced him to abandon the race.
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
Dumoulin is now all-in for the Tour de France, but is still suffering the affects of the wound as he still has a metal splinter in knee.
The 2017 Giro winner told Dutch newspaper De Limburger: “Getting to the Tour should be okay, but it depends on whether my knee is 100 per cent.
“If my knee doesn’t improve then it doesn’t make much sense to me.
“At the moment I haven’t closed that book because it has improved in recent weeks, but it’s just not going fast enough for me.”
Dumoulin was involved in a crash on stage four of the Giro, suffering a wound to his knee and finishing the stage with blood pouring down his leg.
He started the following day but abandoned the race after just 1.5km, then being forced to spend a week off the bike due to the injury.
Dumoulin had planned to ride both the Tour and the Giro, but his crash meant he turned his focus to the French Grand Tour.
After enforced rest, he returned to racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné where he has been active but not a contender for the overall as he continues his recovery.
On stage two, he accidentally found himself in the day’s breakaway and continued to press on to get a hard ride in his legs.
The stage four time trial looked like a perfect opportunity to test his recovery, and Dumoulin set the fastest provisional time early in the day but had to settle for third on the stage behind winner Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) and Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First).
On his TT performance Dumoulin said: “There is always something inside me that hopes for more so I will always be disappointed, even if this was to be expected.
“For now, if you look at today it was an okay performance but the winner in me doesn’t like it. I would like to be race ready here and winning ready but I’m not.
“I know why and I know that I shouldn’t be expecting more but it is what it is.”
Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek added: “Today was a solid performance from Tom. We have to understand that he is still building up his form because he hasn’t been able to do the amount of training to compete at his highest level yet.
“Technically he did a very good time trial, his cornering was good and everything worked out well.
“He still needs to be in better shape to be riding for the win but we can accept this and we’re pleased with where he is.”