Romain Bardet (AG2R-La Mondiale) had already made himself a home hero at this year’s Tour de France with his victory to Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne. Huge cheers followed him wherever he went on Friday morning but those will only be louder now that the 22-year-old heads into the last mountain stage with the polka-dot jersey on his back.
“This jersey is very unexpected. I welcome it with great joy,” Bardet said after the stage. “I did not think I would be wearing it. To have it so close to the arrival at Paris, it's something big. This is all the more moving. Nothing is done but I will enjoy it whatever happens.”
Bardet began the day second in the classification but equal on points with Joaquim Rodriguez. It was clear from the word go that the young Frenchman was interested in taking polka dots. With 60 points available throughout the stage, Bardet and Rodríguez were intent on making it into the break. Rodríguez hit out first and took the full complement of 10 points on the Col de Chaussy.
“This is the first day that I did everything for the mountain classification. I was left by Joaquim Rodriguez tired alone on the first climb, the Col de Chaussy,” Bardet explained. “Anyway, I did not have the legs to do better. Then I made the descent to the bottom and Rodriguez marked me well. I wanted to score points in the hors category (Col de la Croix de Fer) and rely on my consistency for a good result in La Toussuire, where points were doubled.”