Tom Dumoulin (Jumbo-Visma) has abandoned the Giro d’Italia with a suspected back injury.
The 2017 champion was 19’08” adrift in the general classification after shipping time in the mountains ahead of Stage 14, with the Dutchman instead focusing on helping his team secure stage victories.
He spoke coyly to Eurosport about his condition on Wednesday, pausing and looking around before saying: “To be honest, I have some issues with my back so it’s not great.”
Critérium du Dauphiné
‘Too soon’ – Roglic praises ‘big champion’ Dumoulin after retirement decision
Dumoulin was making his return to Grand Tour racing after taking a sabbatical in January 2021 to consider his future. He returned to cycling five months later at the Tour de Suisse before taking a brilliant silver at the Tokyo Olympics in the individual time trial.
The 31-year-old shipped time on Mount Etna on Stage 4 as his GC hopes vanished almost immediately in Italy, before he bounced back to propel team-mate Koen Bouwman to victory on Stage 7 from the breakaway.
Dumoulin also poked fun at leader Juan Pedro Lopez (Trek-Segafredo) after the Spaniard’s angry bottle throw at the Dutchman’s team-mate Sam Oomen on Stage 9. He pulled alongside Lopez with a big grin before cheekily recreating the incident – although this time the bottle did not leave his grasp.
'Last person I would expect that from!' – Dumoulin pretends to chuck bottle at Lopez
He was one of three former champions in the field along with Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana Qazaqstan) – but only Carapaz has realistic hopes of winning again in 2022.
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Stream the Giro d'Italia live and on-demand on discovery+. You can also watch all the action live on eurosport.co.uk.
Dumoulin to retire from cycling at the end of the season
‘It’s not great’ – Former champion Dumoulin reveals back injury struggles
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