Tom Dumoulin is to miss this year’s Tour de France due to fitness concerns.
The Dutchman abandoned the Giro d’Italia in May with a knee injury after crashing during the fourth stage of the race.
Despite battling to be fit for the Tour, his Sunweb team have announced the 28-year-old will not be on the start line in July.
“The last month has been extremely difficult overall, and with the setbacks in the knee recovery”, said Dumoulin. “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.
“I’ve tried so hard to get there but I really have to listen to my body and release myself from chasing an unrealistic goal.”
Dumoulin had been seen as one of the main challengers to the Team INEOS pair of Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas. But after Froome’s crash at the Criterium du Dauphine, Dumoulin is the second high profile name to miss this year’s Tour.
Defending champion, Geraint Thomas suffered his own crash at the Tour de Suisse, but will be able to try to defend his title.
The race starts in the Belgian capital, Brussels on July 6.