Cycling: Dumoulin's Olympic hopes in balance after Tour crash

Tom Dumoulin during the mostly uphill 18th stage of the Tour de France, a 17km individual time trial from Sallanches to Megeve. He crashed out during yesterday's 19th stage, leaving his Olympic participation dependent on his recovery from a wrist inj
Tom Dumoulin during the mostly uphill 18th stage of the Tour de France, a 17km individual time trial from Sallanches to Megeve. He crashed out during yesterday's 19th stage, leaving his Olympic participation dependent on his recovery from a wrist injury, after Tour leader Chris Froome tipped the Dutchman as a favourite for the Olympic time trial. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

MEGEVE (France) • Tom Dumoulin's fantastic Tour de France ended in pain and disappointment yesterday after he quit following a crash.

The Dutchman injured his wrist, putting a question mark over his Olympic participation next month.

Having won two stages and finished second in Thursday's uphill time trial, Dumoulin was enjoying a dream Tour, but it all went wrong 60km from the end of the 146km Alpine 19th stage.

The time-trial specialist was sitting comfortably in the peloton but innocuously lost control of his bike and crashed, injuring his wrist.

He was checked by race medics and forced to quit visibly in pain.

It comes at an awkward time, less than three weeks away from the Olympic time-trial competition in Rio, in which he was expected to be among the favourites.

Earlier, Tour leader Chris Froome had said that Dumoulin would be the man to beat in the time trial at Rio.

The 31-year-old Briton noted of Dumoulin: "He's certainly the man to beat in Rio. He's made it a big objective and focused a lot on it."

Froome got the better of the Dutchman on Thursday after he was beaten by Dumoulin in the first one last week.

Thursday's time trial was just 17km long and almost all uphill, whereas the one Dumoulin won was more than twice as long. And although it had two climbs, most of it was flat.

The Rio time trial will be 54.5km long with four climbs, suiting time-trial specialist Dumoulin.

Froome was third in the time trial in London four years ago behind British team-mate Bradley Wiggins and German Tony Martin.

On a flatter course, three-time world time-trial champion Martin would probably be the favourite in Rio, or even veteran Fabian Cancellara, a four-time world champion.

But it is Dumoulin's ability to be strong on climbs as well as on a flat speed test that makes him the favourite for Froome.

"He's a great rider, he's shown already what he can do in Grand Tours, he's been very close to winning the Vuelta (a Espana)," said the Briton.

"Let's see, he's got great potential. Let's see what he can do in Rio."

Dumoulin proved his versatility last year in coming in sixth at the Vuelta, having led the race until late on.

The 25-year-old won two stages during that race, including a time trial, just as he has done at this year's Tour de France.

He now has about three weeks to recover and prove he is a class act in Rio.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2016, with the headline 'Dumoulin's Olympic hopes in balance after Tour crash'. Print Edition | Subscribe