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AG2R’s Stage Hunter: Romain Bardet

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June 3, 2015 – During his participation in the Critérium du Dauphiné last year, Romain Bardet was one of the standouts at the end of the week (5th overall) before going on to finish 6th in the Tour de France in July. Once again, accompanied by Jean-Christophe Péraud in the Alps, the 24-year old AG2R rider attacks this challenge with gusto…and a multi-phase strategy.

ASO/Yuzuru Sunada

How would you rate your 2015 season so far before taking on the most important part beginning with the Critérium du Dauphiné?

I’m happy with how the beginning of my season has gone and I am really pleased to see that I could be in contention on some important races. This corresponds to the evolution that I want. I know that I am both more mature and stronger than last year. For example, I saw this on the Tour de Romandie, which I defined as one of the key points of my year (9th): I took great pleasure in attacking the Tour favourites, and I also showed that I can ride a good time trial (6th). But you can’t forget that cycling is a multifactorial sport, in which physical data and sensations don’t automatically convert into results.

In the role of a stage hunter:

During last year’s Dauphiné, your attacking nature stood out, especially on the final stage where you came close to creating a hold-up. Will you take on the race with the same intentions this year?

The Dauphiné is a race that allows for trying things and to ride freely. I am coming in with the desire to get back in action after a long training and reconnaissance period. It will be a chance to validate this work and of course I am delighted that there may be some unexpected racing scenarios. I don’t know what to expect: like everyone else, I will be at 90 or 95% of my potential and it would be good to do something with this form there.

You should already have in mind some stages you might enjoy…

From the Thursday, there should be some possibilities nearly every day. On the Dauphiné, I have the impression that you can go from a disappointing day to a satisfying one the next. We never know if the rider with the yellow jersey will hold on to it for another day. I know that last year I flirted with victory on the Courchevel stage (2nd), and I would like for it to work out for me this time.

Yet you are a rider made to compete for the overall win…

It does fit my profile, but I feel that I am better suited for three-week races rather than for those of one week, where the preponderance of time trials can be an issue. So, it may be a good idea for me to play the role of a stage hunter.

Everyone will take the Tour de France team time trial very seriously

In your revving up for the Tour de France, the team time trial between Roanne and Montagny will certainly provide a lot of information…

This day will be a rehearsal for the Plumelec stage on Le Tour. There will be a lot at stake with the Tour’s team time trial, for everyone. It will be necessary to be strong, and I know we have prepared well. Actually, I am more worried about time trial at the Dauphiné than the one at the Tour de France, where we will have more opportunities to regain time that we might lose.

What is your programme in the final days before the start of the Dauphiné?

I am coming out of a period where the workload was heavy, so I need to rest. So, I spend this week at home, and I only do training sessions. I also make the most of the time to study, because I also have a series of exams to validate my final year of school… immediately after the Dauphiné.