Pocket climber John Gadret seems disenchanted by his Tour de France and his chances to finish the race. "I really feel bad since the start", he confided to Cyclingnews on Wednesday morning, at the start in Carhaix. "It's terrible to struggle like that. I certainly limit the damage if you see my results, especially in stage four to Mûr de Bretagne, but I feel empty, I've no power."
On general classification the AG2R-La Mondiale rider is currently 109th, 7:18 behind Thor Hushovd.
His initial goal was to support his leaders Nicolas Roche and Jean-Christophe Péraud and perhaps win a stage, so his time loss in the first week of the Tour shouldn't be dramatic.
However, Gadret suggests he's so tired that he could pull out. "If I've to struggle like that for three weeks, it's not worthy to race..." On a more optimistic note, the Frenchman hopes his vital energy will be back in the coming days.
The reason of this exhaustion is unambiguously the Giro d'Italia. "I have not recovered since then", he noticed. After he crossed the line in Milan, Gadret said he didn't expect to ride the Tour and wanted to relish his Italian performances: a fourth position overall and one stage victory.
When his managers offered him a chance to go to the Tour, he accepted because he was confident in his recovery skills. He had a little break and came back to competition at the Route du Sud (13th) and the French road Championships (18th).
Gadret has "no regrets" about his schedule. "The Tour de France is a nice bonus but the race I love remains the Giro d'Italia", he told Cyclingnews before the Grand Départ. "I can go beyond for the Giro. The steep climbs suit me and I really enjoy the atmosphere." It has been reported indeed that Gadret reveres Marco Pantani and 'tifosi' have nick-named him "The little Pantani" because of his pure climber's style and his bald head.
"I don't think I could withdraw the Giro to focus on the Tour one day", Gadret insisted.
This year, the Italian race is known to have been one of the most difficult editions in the last decades. It's understandable that most of the riders who have taken part and currently race the Tour are struggling.
Another AG2R member, Hubert Dupont, 12th overall in the Giro, has barely better recovered than Gadret. "I'm almost resigning, I've to accept my bad shape", he said.
"But to be honest it's not a funny situation. I will see what I'll do after the Pyrenees. The stage in Massif Central still might be tough for me because we'll use a lot of power to get to that sort of climb."