Bardet: There won't be room for three Grand Tours in three months

Romain Bardet
Romain Bardet lines up for the start (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Following the announcement that the postponed 2020 Tour de France (opens in new tab) has been rescheduled (opens in new tab) for August 29-September 20, AG2R La Mondiale (opens in new tab) moved quickly to confirm that Romain Bardet (opens in new tab) will participate in La Grande Boucle – if it ultimately goes ahead – rather than the Giro d’Italia as originally planned.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen all bike racing suspended until at least July 1 and, despite the UCI’s attempts to rearrange the calendar, it remains decidedly unclear whether competition will resume at all this season. 

Despite that obvious uncertainty, however, Bardet told L’Équipe (opens in new tab) that the current contingency plan has the merit of giving riders a target on which to focus.

“It was great news to see that people are thinking about what happens after the crisis, but that’s not to assume that there aren’t some more difficulties yet to come,” Bardet said.

“As a high-level sportsperson, you need to have objectives: it wasn’t easy to manage the emotions of training recently, some mornings you didn’t really know why you were getting on the bike… It’s not the biggest problem for society right now, but for us, it’s exciting to have a comeback date and to be able to make some plans.”

After placing 15th overall at last year’s Tour de France, Bardet had opted to reset his career by building his 2020 campaign around his Giro d’Italia debut and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Following the postponement of those events and the provisional redrawing of the UCI calendar, he has opted to return to the Tour de France rather than sit out racing in September and wait for a possible Autumn Giro d'Italia.

“Will it be kept at three weeks? I have big doubts about its format and that of the Vuelta, because there won’t be room for three Grand Tours in three months. Teams are going to have make choices,” Bardet suggested.

“What’s emerged from these negotiations is that the priority has been given to the Tour to save the season, and I don’t see myself spending the month of September waiting at home. I’m keen to race, even if this season is going to be completely singular. In the way I’m going to approach it, this 2020 Tour will be completely different.”

Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo) and Simon Yates (Mitchetlon-Scott) had also been slated to ride the 2020 Giro d'Italia, but Bardet believes that few Grand Tour contenders would opt to miss La Grande Boucle given its position on the rearranged calendar.

“Given the interests at play, all the top leaders of the peloton will undoubtedly be on the Tour, the top 30 or 40 in the world rankings, and that will make for a pulsating race. Will it be more open as a result? I don’t have a crystal ball,” said Bardet, who added that the World Championships road race, still scheduled for September 27, was a further reason for riders to line out at the Tour.

“It will be the best preparation.”

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Cyclingnews is the world's leader in English-language coverage of professional cycling. Started in 1995 by University of Newcastle professor Bill Mitchell, the site was one of the first to provide breaking news and results over the internet in English. The site was purchased by Knapp Communications in 1999, and owner Gerard Knapp built it into the definitive voice of pro cycling. Since then, major publishing house Future PLC has owned the site and expanded it to include top features, news, results, photos and tech reporting. The site continues to be the most comprehensive and authoritative English voice in professional cycling.