Romain Bardet has revealed he plans to ride two Grand Tours in 2020 and start his season at the Tour Down Under after finishing 15th at this year's Tour de France and ending his season in the middle of August.
The AG2R La Mondiale team leader revealed his plans while commentating on the World Championships for French television. Last year, Bardet salvaged French pride by finishing second behind Alejandro Valverde in Innsbruck, Austria, after national teammate Julian Alaphilippe cracked on the final climb. This year, Alaphilippe overshadowed Bardet at the Tour de France but could not go with the race's decisive attacks after suffering in the cold and rain.
Bardet has not raced since winning the polka-dot jersey as best climber at the Tour de France but appeared to have recovered from the fatigue of the summer.
"We'll look at things quietly once the courses have been revealed," Bardet was reported as saying on air on Sunday, admitting that his performance at this year's Tour de France had been "a huge disappointment".
The route of the 2020 Tour de France will be revealed in Paris on Tuesday, October 15, with the 2020 Giro d'Italia presentation expected at the end of October. The 2020 Tour will start in Nice, while the 2020 Giro starts in Hungary.
The 28-year-old Frenchman likes to race aggressively, even away from the Grand Tours, but he struggled to find his best form through the spring, where his best results were second at the Tour du Haut Var and fifth at Paris-Nice. In June, he was only 10th at the Critérium du Dauphiné, before finishing second at the inaugural Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge.
At the Tour de France, Bardet never looked like replicating the kind of displays that carried him to the podium in 2016 and 2017. He conceded early ground on the first summit finish at La Planche des Belles, and although he made an attack on home roads in Brioude on July 14, his challenge ended definitively on the slopes of the Col du Soulour on stage 14.
He managed to put a different slant on his Tour with an aggressive showing in the final week, and secured the polka-dot jersey after going on the attack on the road to Valloire on stage 18.
In 2017, he rode both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, finishing third at La Grande Boucle. He has hinted that he would like to ride the Giro d'Italia again, but, like many big-name riders, he is expected to target the road race at the Tokyo Olympics, which will be raced on a tough Mount Fuji circuit in late July, just a week after the Tour de France reaches Paris.