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by Shane Stokes
August 4, 2017
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Haig wins stage six of the Tour of Poland, Sagan loses race lead; Landa grabs second stage win in Vuelta a Burgos, extends race lead; Campenaerts takes Elite men’s European time trial championship; Van Dijk powers to a dominant win and prolongs European time trial title; Bardet confirms Vuelta participation: ‘An important step’; Nieve to move from Team Sky to Orica-Scott; Bettiol inks contract with BMC Racing Team; Two year deals for Fraile at Astana and Rosón at Movistar; Taiwan KOM Challenge announces equal prize money for men and women; WM3 reacts to Niewiadoma’s transfer; Women’s Cycling Transfer Shorts; Hip surgery for Roelandts, Frison and Hansen recovering from other health issues; Interbike and Cross Vegas are leaving Las Vegas; Video: Pony infiltrates peloton in Poland
He was one of the star riders of the Tour de France and was bitterly disappointed to finish third rather than take the final yellow jersey to Paris. Romain Bardet will now take what he believes is the next step in his development as a pro.
“After having had a very full Tour de France, both from a sporting and psychological point of view, I took time to reflect on the rest of the season,” he said in an Ag2r La Mondiale team announcement on Thursday. For several months I have been considering the possibility of competing in the Vuelta a Espana, and after speaking with the general management of the team as well as the staff, they have reinforced this idea as an option for me. I am very happy to have a chance to participate in the Vuelta, not only as a way to avoid the monotony of a usual program, but also to compete in two Grand Tours in one season for the first time in my career.”
Bardet described doubling up in two Grand Tours as “an important step in the life of a professional racer,” and said that he felt he had the maturity to tackle it. However it seems he will go there without the pressure of a top GC finish. “My ambitions will be different from those that I had when I went to the Tour de France this year, but with a high-performance team, I hope to figure prominently in those stages that correspond to my strengths.”
Team manager Vincent Lavenu explained the thinking. “This is a logical progression in his career, even if double Grand Tours a season will not necessarily become the norm in future years. His condition at the end of the Tour will allow him to approach the Vuelta with confidence.”
Bardet will be joined by Domenico Pozzovivo, Matteo Montaguti, Alexandre Geniez, Samuel Dumoulin and Alexis Gougeard. The final three slots on the team will be finalized after the BinckBank Tour.