Tour de France 2021: Barguil eyes yellow jersey opportunity at Mûr-de-Bretagne

Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) on stage 15 of the 2020 Tour de France
Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) on stage 15 of the 2020 Tour de France (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

French climber Warren Barguil (Arkéa-Samsic) says that he's already targeting the yellow jersey on stage 2 of the 2021 Tour de France, which features two ascents of the Mûr-de-Bretagne climb in the heart of the 29-year-old's home region of Brittany.

Next year's Tour route was unveiled in Paris on Sunday evening, and Barguil said that he was particularly motivated by the Grand Départ – and the first four stages – on his home roads.

"Historically, Brittany is cycling country," he told Le Parisien. "We've grown up with all the stories about the great Breton champions, and I always pretended to be Bernard Hinault.

"On stage 2, with the climb at Mûr-de-Bretagne, there could be a yellow jersey at stake," Barguil said. "Julian Alaphilippe [Deceuninck-QuickStep] will likely be the rider to beat there, but I hope that I may get my opportunity, too. It would be a dream to get the yellow jersey in Brittany, and so I'll give myself every chance."

Stage 3 between Lorient and Pontivy should be particularly special for Barguil as it passes close by to where he lives – and it would be that much more special again if he was in the yellow jersey that day.

"I already know that my whole family, all my friends, my old classmates from school and everyone from my old cycling clubs will be out watching, which will make it very emotional for me," he said. "It should be a great stage, and potentially difficult, too, due to the narrow roads and especially due to the wind.

"A start in Brittany gives me extra motivation, and I want to show myself from the very start. I'll discuss it with my team, but I can see myself riding for the general classification," said Barguil, who rode in the service of teammate Nairo Quintana at this year's Tour, who's said that he's again aiming for the podium next season.

"I've already finished 10th at the Tour twice," Barguil said, remembering the 2017 and 2019 races, "and I think I'm capable of finishing somewhere between fifth and seventh."

Barguil said that he really liked the look of the entire route of next year's Tour.

"In France, we have so many beautiful areas to discover, and there's something for everyone. There's certainly a lot less climbing next year compared to this year, but that should just mean that there's more attacking riding. There are some tricky looking stages that could see some gaps open up. It's really a traditional Tour route that should crown a more complete rider rather than a pure climber," he said, echoing compatriot and Groupama-FDJ leader Thibaut Pinot's initial thoughts on next year's route.

"There are going to be some great opportunities," he said when asked to pick out his highlights from the 2021 route besides the stages in Brittany. "The stage over Mont Ventoux [stage 11], which we climb twice, is going to be very special, and could provide some surprises as we're not used to finishing at the bottom of it [after a descent from the summit].

"And finishing with the Pyrenees suit me, too," continued Barguil. "The cols come in more rapid succession, and aren't quite as tough [as in the Alps], and so that will encourage attacks. The final time trial around the grapevines [in Saint-Emilion on stage 20] will also be something special."

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