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Bardet feeling the benefits of new training regime at Team DSM

Il Lombardia 2021 - 115th Edition - Como - Bergamo 239 km - 09/10/2021 - Romain Bardet (FRA - Team DSM) - photo Luca Bettini/BettiniPhoto©2021
Bardet in action at Il Lombardia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Romain Bardet was disappointed not to be standing on the podium at Il Lombardia but he ended his season with the feeling that his move to Team DSM had been worthwhile. 

The former Tour de France podium finisher left the AG2R stable after nine years to reinvigorate his career, and feels the new coaching methods at the German team are bearing fruit. 

"I'm on a good path," Bardet said after Il Lombardia, according to L'Equipe. "I'm starting to reap the rewards of this new approach to my profession."

Bardet placed eighth Il Lombardia, towards the back of a disorganised chasing group that had formed behind Tadej Pogacar and Fausto Masnada on the run-in to Bergamo. 

He made a bid for the final podium spot with a searing acceleration on the sharp haul to the old town, causing Adam Yates and Primoz Roglic to be dropped, but the rest of the group hesitated again after the descent and that pair came roaring back at the last to take the third and fourth places. 

"It was third place that counted," Bardet said. "After that, finishing fourth or finishing eighth, it's all the same."

Still, Bardet could take heart from the fact he was in the thick of the action at a Monument at the very end of the season. Amid a smattering of early-season Classics, he took top-10s at Tirreno-Adriatico and Tour of the Alps before placing seventh overall on his Giro d'Italia debut. 

He doubled up with the Vuelta a España, where his general classification hopes were abruptly ended by a crash but where he bounced back to claim a stage win at Pico Villeurcas. 

"I feel good about my season," he said. "I did a solid Giro, without being at 100 per cent. I'm happy with the way I've finished the season. I'm stronger at the end of it than I was at the start, and that's positive."

Bardet has been reportedly switched onto a 'polarised' training regime at Team DSM, which involves riding at either very low or very high intensity. The bulk of volume is done at a slow pace, but is coupled with all-out interval sessions. 

"The new training method is working well," Bardet said. "I'm doing less than before, I'm more relaxed, less stressed, and I have more energy.

"I think I'm stronger than before, but the level is higher and higher, with the quality of the youngsters and depth in the peloton."