Barguil: The plan is to deliberately lose time at Tour de France

Warren Barguil, the 2017 King of the Mountains at the Tour de France, has an unusual plan for the first mountain stages: "From Tuesday I will deliberately lose time."

The Fortuneo-Samsic rider is currently 18th overall, 2:37 behind yellow jersey Greg Van Avermaet, and within roughly a minute of the top GC candidates.

He won two mountain stages last year and finished 10th overall, but insists he is not yet ready to launch a true GC bid, and will aim to get a "free pass" to hunt stage wins. 

"Riding a good classification requires a completely different way of thinking," Barguil said, according to the Belga news agency.  "This year it is not yet possible for me, even if I sometimes get a good final ranking.

"To win a stage, I have to lose time. Otherwise they will not let me go. I'll see how things are going tomorrow, but the goal is definitely to lose time during the final climb."

It seems ironic that the climber would look to purposely lose time in the first mountain stages, when he might have done so in the first nine flat stages. "I tried to find a day to lose time, but in Brittany that was not possible," Barguil said of the stages in his home region.

Things have not gone Barguil’s way after winning two stages, the KOM title and the combativity award at the 2017 Tour. He announced in early August last year that he would leave Sunweb for Fortuneo, and Sunweb sent him home from the Vuelta a España after stage 7.

Barguil is still looking for the first signs of success in 2018, saying in June that the year so far had been "rubbish". He has said that a personal problem was partially at fault, but that he just didn’t seem to have any luck so far.

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