Romain Bardet has thrown his hat in the ring for the Vuelta a España after coming in third overall at the Tour de France. The AG2R La Mondiale rider will join Tour winner Chris Froome (Team Sky) and other top finishers including Fabio Aru (Astana) and Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo) at the start in Nimes on August 19.
"I am very happy to have a chance to participate in the Vuelta, not only as a way to avoid the monotony of a usual program, but also to compete in two Grand Tours in one season for the first time in my career," Bardet said in a team press release.
Bardet was one of the most aggressive contenders in the Tour de France, winning the stage to Peyregudes and holding second place overall until falling behind Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) in the final time trial.
"For several months I have been considering the possibility of competing in the Vuelta a España, and after speaking with the general management of the team as well as the staff, they have reinforced this idea as an option for me. This is an important step in the life as a professional racer, and I feel that I have the maturity to tackle it."
He said he will have different goals than what he held for the Tour, but hopes to "figure prominently in those stages that correspond to my strengths."
He will be joined by Domenico Pozzovivo, Matteo Montaguti, Alexandre Geniez, Samuel Dumoulin and Alexis Gougeard. The rest of the team will be announced after the BinckBank Tour, with Hugo Houle, Clement Chevrier, Julien Duval and Nico Denz competing for the last two places.
Team manager Vincent Lavenu said Bardet had reached "a physical maturity which allows him to compete in two Grand Tours in the same season."
"This is a logical progression in his career, even if double Grand Tours a season will not necessarily become the norm in future years. His condition at the end of the Tour will allow him to approach the Vuelta with confidence. We will line up at the Vuelta with a very good team and have several riders who will be able to play a large role in the overall standings as well as during individual stages," Lavenu concluded.
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