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by Shane Stokes
March 15, 2018
Jakobsen takes first pro victory in Nokere Koerse; Bayly wins stage 4 of the Tour de Taiwan; Bardet to eschew other targets and focus 100% on Tour de France; Deignan announces pregnancy, will miss 2018 season; Cavendish, Renshaw confirmed for Milan-San Remo; QuickStep Floors takes three-pronged approach to leadership at Milan-San Remo; Van Avermaet: Milan-San Remo is a lottery; French amateur previously banned for five years given 60 hours of community service; Costa Rican duo given four year bans for CERA use; Strava overhauls map that revealed military positions; Video: 360 degree camera from inside the peloton; Video: high speed river crossing leads to dangerous crash
Bardet dropped van Aert on the approach to the finish in Siena.
Second and third overall in 2016 and 2017, Romain Bardet has decided to take a risky – but potentially rewarding – strategy in his buildup to the Tour de France. The French Ag2r la Mondiale rider has decided to be everything on July, concentrating fully on being in the best shape possible for that race and not setting other events as a goal.
However, with wind, cobblestones and crashes set to pepper the race in its opening days, he also accepts that such an all or nothing approach is a risk. “I’m not afraid,” he said, according to Le Monde. “But I am realistic about the risks of failure: there is a big probability. Favourites will go to the trap, that’s for sure.
“Paradoxically, it does not frighten me as to how to guide my season. Because I’ve gained the intimate conviction that to succeed on the Tour, it was necessary to have it 100 percent in mind.”
Bardet’s past success in the race plus his attributes [a strong climber, a swift descender, a competent time trialist] set him out as the most likely French winner of the Tour. The country last won the race with Bernard Hinault in 1985; Ag2r La Mondiale’s three year extension of his contract until the end of 2020 shows it believes he could succeed Le Blaireau.
He accepts the pressure, embraces it. “Wouldn’t having other objectives be a form of avoidance to lessen the scope of the Tour?” he says. “I will devote myself even more to the Tour de France, 100%, because that’s where I have felt adrenaline most. Before, I put my season on it unconsciously, now it’s more assumed.”
Click through to read the article at Le Monde.