Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) will have to sit out the next two weeks after he injured his arm in a domestic accident at home in Vence. The Frenchman required stitches and a splint to treat a cut and a small muscle injury to his left forearm, and he seems certain to miss out on his planned participation in next week’s Ruta del Sol.
Bardet began his season last weekend at the Grand Prix La Marseillaise. He expressed disappointment at being side-lined in such circumstances, but said the injury was “more annoying than serious” and added that he will be able to continue training in the intervening period.
“It’s never pleasant to get injured, especially at home,” Bardet said in a statement released by the team. “It’s frustrating but it’s just a short lay-off. We’re only in February; I’ve trained very well since November and I’ve clocked up 6,000 kilometres. The GP La Marseillaise confirmed my good sensations.
“It’s just a pity to have to slow down my working rhythm at a time when the team, as Tony Gallopin showed in Bessèges, is performing very well. My injury is more annoying than serious, and I’m going to continue to train before resuming competition very soon.”
Bardet will hope to return to action in time to line out at French one-day races the Classic de l'Ardèche and the Drome Classic at the end of February, the next races on his provisional schedule after the Ruta del Sol.
The 27-year-old is also expected to line out at Strade Bianche, and has already confirmed that he will ride Tirreno-Adriatico in 2018 in place of Paris-Nice. As ever, Liège-Bastogne-Liège will be the culmination of Bardet’s spring campaign, before he begins his build-up to the Tour de France, where he placed second in 2016 and third last year.
Bardet’s likely absence from the Ruta del Sol means that he will miss an early confrontation with Chris Froome (Team Sky), who confirmed on Monday that he will begin his 2018 season in Andalusia next week. Froome returned an adverse analytical finding for salbutamol during the 2017 Vuelta a España, but is free to compete until the case is resolved.