Tom Dumoulin, expected to compete with defending champion Geraint Thomas for the title next month, also pulled out of this season’s Giro in June due to a knee problem. Photo: Alessandro di Meo/ANSA via AP

PARIS – Former Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin will miss this year’s Tour de France through injury, the Dutchman said in a statement on Thursday.

Dumoulin, expected to compete with defending champion Geraint Thomas for the title next month, also pulled out of this season’s Giro in June due to a knee problem. 

He joins four-time winner Chris Froome as another Tour favourite ruled out of this year’s race, after the Team Ineos rider suffered a devastating crash at last week’s Criteium du Dauphine.

“The last month has been extremely difficult overall, and with the setbacks in the knee recovery,” he said on Team Sunweb’s website.

“After what happened at the Giro I really wanted to go for it in the Tour, but this week, I realised it’s just not realistic for my level to be there in time,” he added.

The 28-year-old came second at both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France last year, as well as winning the 2017 world championships time-trial, making him a chief contender in all major tours and races.

“Time isn’t on our side anymore to cater for setbacks, so to give Tom the time he needs to get back to complete fitness can only be the right decision,” Sunweb’s doctor Anko Boelens said.

“Despite his strong will and ambition to race the TDF, it’s better to let this goal go this year in favour of optimum recovery,” Boelens added.

AFP