Warren Barguil has stressed that he is not yet ready to embark on a Tour de France general classification bid. The talented French climber claims that stage wins and the defence of his King of the Mountains jersey will be his main aims at the race in 2018.
Barguil won two stages in this year’s Tour de France, claimed the King of the Mountains jersey, and finished a highly creditable 10th overall in Paris.
A move from Team Sunweb to Fortuneo-Oscaro materialised over the summer, with the Frenchman joining his local Brittany team on a three-year contract. Barguil had to break his contract with Sunweb in order to facilitate the move and his end of season was soured after he was sent home from the Vuelta a España after failing to respect the team’s in-race plans.
However, at the Tour de France presentation in Paris last week, the 25-year-old appeared enthusiastic about the 2018 route. The opening week sees stages in Brittany before two blocks in the Alps and then the Pyrenees. There is only one individual time trial and, although the team time trial on stage 3 far from suits Barguil’s new team, the Frenchman has more than enough terrain in the mountains to reverse any significant time gaps.
"It’s a really nice route. It suits me with a lot of climbing. We go through Brittany, where I live. It’s just perfect," he told Cyclingnews.
"The first week is really hard and you can lose time anywhere if you’re a GC rider. You have the pavé but in Brittany it’s all on small roads, so you can have a crash and lose the Tour at that point."
Grand Tour potential
Barguil made an instant impression on his Grand Tour debut in 2013, winning two stages at the Vuelta in his debut season as a professional. He finished eighth overall in the race 12 months later before claiming 14th at his debut Tour de France in 2015. Last season failed to produce a similar result but he did finish a creditable third in the Tour de Suisse.
Barguil’s career moved on leaps and bounds at this year’s Tour de France. Despite a slow start he came alive in the mountains, first winning in Foix and then doubling up on the Izoard. He also finished a close second to Rigoberto Uran on stage 9 to Chambery, with a photo finish turning Barguil's initial joy to disappointment.
Despite the favourable route, Barguil was in no mood to talk up his chances for next year. When he signed for Fortuneo he spoke about taking gradual steps in his career and, although he made huge strides this summer, he has no public desire to ramp up the pressure on his shoulders so far out from the race.
"There’s no GC," he told Cyclingnews.
"I just target stages and the mountains jersey. I think it’s nice to have that shorter stage of 65km but for GC I’m not ready. I’ll take it on when I’m ready."