Latour to return to racing at Giro dell'Emilia

Pierre Latour is set to return to racing at this weekend's Giro dell'Emilia as part of an AG2R La Mondiale squad that also includes elite men's Worlds road race silver medallist Romain Bardet.

Latour – who won the white jersey for the best young rider at this year's Tour de France – crashed out of the Clasica San Sebastian in early August, but, having taken the time to recover from a fractured vertebra, will be back in competition at the Italian one-day race on Saturday.

"I'm happy to be back racing before the end of the season, and equally happy to be back in the team atmosphere," the reigning French time trial champion said on his team's website.

"I like the Italian Classics at this time of year. I raced them in 2013 when I was a stagiaire during the last part of the season. But this time, since I haven't raced for two months, I really don't know how I'll go compared to the other riders.

"On Sunday, I did an eight-hour training ride," continued Latour, "so I hope to be ready. It'll give me a lot of pleasure just to be able to help out my teammates."

Bardet must be considered a favourite for what is a challenging one-day race, and will hope to make use of what is clearly good climbing form to try to take what would be only his second victory this season, after winning the one-day Classic de l'Ardèche back in February.

The Giro dell'Emilia finishes on the steep slopes of the Colle della Guardia, which takes the riders up to the Santuario della Madonna di San Luca, overlooking Bologna. The city was recently announced as the host of the 2019 Giro d'Italia Grande Partenza, with an opening time trial that finishes on the same climb to San Luca.

But Bardet knows the finish well, having just missed out on the Giro dell'Emilia win in 2016 – when he finished second to Mitchelton-Scott's Esteban Chaves – and will hope to be able to count on Latour's assistance on Saturday.

Providing all goes well with his return at the Giro dell'Emilia, Latour – but not Bardet – will also race at the GP Bruno Beghelli on Sunday.

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