Has Romain Bardet ever touched victory on a grand tour? Are two podiums on the most prestigious of them enough to answer yes to the question? Probably not. And even if he was on a par in the mountains with Chris Froome on the 2017 Tour de France, even if he was only 23 seconds behind the Briton before the final time, the Auvergnat never gave the feel like I can do it. Five years later, and while he changed teams “to see what [qu’il] had in the belly”, the blow seems playable. Yes, Romain Bardet can win the Tour of Italy 2022.
It is an understatement to say that Bardet has been discreet since the resumption of the season. Three stage races (UAE Tour, Tirreno and Tour des Alpes) and an appearance noted for his sense of friendship towards Julian Alaphilippe in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. If the announcement of his participation in the Giro was delayed, a habit for his training which thus wishes to protect his men from the pressure, everything had in fact been planned for several months. “What I did last year on the Giro (7th) with a physical level that didn’t really satisfy me made me want to come back, to prepare for that since November“, he told us on the show Bistrot Vélo on Monday.
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Bardet has been thinking about the Giro for six months
Bardet has been thinking about this for six months. And for those who follow his career closely, that means a lot. An obvious talent, the 31-year-old runner also has no equal when it comes to maximizing his potential. Ascetic for some, he goes far in sacrifices when he sets a goal. “The roadmap was followed“, he explained Wednesday at a press conference.
There are two reasons, which obviously clash, to explain Bardet’s discretion in 2022. “The team let me prepare to have the maximum freshness on the Giro“. So much for the first. The second, corollary of the first, were these two training courses at altitude, of three weeks each, which make Bardet say that he had “the ideal preparation“.
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All this was thus confirmed at the Tour of the Alps where he triumphed by beating Pello Bilbao, Mikel Landa, Hugh Carthy or Miguel Angel Lopez, some of his probable opponents on the Giro. It lacked a few others, and not the least, (Carapaz, Almeida, Yates) but it doesn’t really matter. “It was very good to win the Tour des Alpes. It was an important race because it came after a good big block of training. It gives me confidence for the Giro. Testing the legs and the team was bound to be a good thing“, he said Wednesday during his press conference.
Using the Mistakes of 2021
However, do not count on Romain Bardet to give specific objectives. Since he changed teams, “to put yourself in danger, to try new methods, to stimulate yourself“, the Frenchman embraces the philosophy of Team DSM, very stingy with thunderous communication. You have to push him to his limits to get something.”It’s harmful to think of a raw result“, he retorted in Bistrot Vélo. “Of course, I think I can do better than last year“, he nuanced Wednesday. Better than 7th therefore, only would one be tempted to add?
“We start with high expectations of coursehe finally concedes. The Giro is one of the most unpredictable races and one of the toughest“Precisely, the unpredictability of events, Bardet likes that. Cerebral, he likes to analyze his mistakes so as not to repeat them. And that’s why the Giro of 2021 made him want to come back so much.”I had a good first try but you also have to get used to racing in Italy and on the Girounfolds Bardet. I hope to use the experience of last year to improve. I discovered the road, the details that can make the difference. I hope to use this knowledge to improve my ranking and make the right decisions when it counts..”
Really far from Carapaz?
Making the right decisions will obviously not be enough as the list of candidates for the podium is long. “Carapaz, Yates, Bilbao, Lopez, Landa, Almeida, Buchman, Kelderman, Hindley, Martinhe listed in Bistrot Vélo. And I’m probably forgetting some…” For him, the absence of a long time – the first will cover 9 kilometers during the 2nd stage, the second 17 during the last – is obviously an advantage. The difficult third week suits his ability to recover. The freshness, on which he has therefore decided to bet, will also necessarily play a role.
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As for his adversaries, only one today seems objectively above him (Richard Carapaz). But the Ecuadorian is not unbeatable and forgetting Bardet in the list of his potential killers would be a mistake. Doesn’t being able to beat the favorite automatically give you the label of at least a very serious outsider?
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