Team Sunweb have confirmed that Tom Dumoulin will not ride the Vuelta a España, effectively ending the Dutchman’s season which has been derailed by a knee injury.
His recovery has been slow, with Dutch National Coach Koos Moerenhout saying there was a question mark over Dumoulin’s fitness and he wouldn’t wait until two weeks before the World Championships to know if the Dutchman would be available.
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With the Vuelta finishing on September 15 and the Worlds beginning the week after, if the Dutchman is unable to participate in the Spanish Grand Tour it is highly unlikely he’ll be able to compete at the sharp end of either the road race or time trial in Yorkshire.
Dumoulin is still not able to put his full weight on his knee due to tendon inflammation and damage to his knee cartilage, with Sunweb telling Dutch newspaper AD: “The focus is currently on recovery and the Vuelta comes too early.”
Dumoulin crashed in the opening week of the Giro d’Italia, abandoning the race. He underwent surgery in a bid to recover in time for the Tour de France, with surgeons removing gravel from his knee that was causing him irritation.
The 28-year-old appeared to be recovering well and had set his sights on the Tour de France, where he finished runner-up behind Geraint Thomas (Ineos) in 2018. However, en route to an altitude training camp in the Alps in the build-up to the Tour he turned his car around, thereby ending his French Grand Tour ambitions.
Relations have been somewhat frayed in recent months between Dumoulin and his team, with one anonymous rider telling Cycling Weekly: “It is clear, he is not happy with the riders that the team signed over the last winter.”
The transfer window officially opens on August 1 but many deals are tabled beforehand at the Tour, with rumours making their way into the public domain as agents wheel and deal.
One whisper making the rounds was that Dumoulin would break his contract with the German team to sign for the Dutch squad Jumbo-Visma, who already boast Steven Kruijswijk and Primož Roglič as GC riders.
This would mean Dumoulin may have ridden his final race for the team he has spent the last eight years attached to, with sources claiming Dumoulin will sign an improved €2.5 million contract, dwarfing his current €1.5 million deal.
Contacted by Cycling Weekly during the Tour de France, neither Jumbo-Visma nor Sunweb would confirm the Dumoulin deal was happening.