Bardet to focus on Tour de France and skip Giro d'Italia

Romain Bardet will not make his debut at the Giro d'Italia in 2019, with the Tour de France to remain the Frenchman's primary objective.

Bardet, a podium finisher at the Tour in 2016 and 2017, had been considering heading to Italy next year for pastures new - as he did at this point two years ago - describing the Giro as 'part of my career plan'.

However, as the AG2R La Mondiale team gathered for their first pre-season training camp in the French Alps on Tuesday, it was confirmed that the 28-year-old will continue to focus exclusively on July.

"It's a well-considered decision. This year the parcours of the Giro is less favourable to Romain," team manager Vincent Lavenu told Cyclingnews and other reporters in Vaujany, outlining the team’s plans for the coming season.

Bardet then sat down with the press, explaining that he is unwilling to risk compromising his chances of cracking the top podium spot by exerting himself in Italy in May.

"I had doubts before the routes were unveiled, but it was very clear for me when I looked at the parcours. The challenge of the Giro-Tour double, to be able to try and win both, is very difficult, so for me the focus will be on the Tour de France," he said.

"This year was unique - one of the first times where it might have been possible to do the Giro and Tour, with the extra week between the two. But normally it’s a very difficult challenge. Going to the Tour after the Giro, I wouldn't be able to win. If I do the Tour de France at 90 per cent, I'm not going to win. I need to be at the top of my form, so for me the Giro is incompatible."

The route for the 2019 Tour de France seems favourable to the likes of Bardet, with just 27km of individual time trialling and a number of summit finishes and mountains that break the 2,000m altitude barrier.

The Giro, meanwhile, features no fewer than three individual time trials.

"In the Giro there is one time trial per-week. It's true that they’re uphill but it's not like they're on mountain roads like in the Megeve time trial at the Tour two years ago," Bardet said.

"In the Giro there are also lots of mountains but also lots of roads that I know nothing of. In the Tour, I know almost every piece of road. I know the Galibier, Brioude, Saint Etienne, even La Planche des Belles Filles, like the back of my hand. Also it’s a question of stimulation, and that is at its highest when I'm on the roads of France at the Tour in July."

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