Romain Bardet has brought his 2019 season to a close, saying he needs to “regenerate” to come back stronger in 2020 following what he describes as a disappointing season.
The Ag2r La Mondiale based his season around the Tour de France yet failed to match up to his GC competitors, often being one of the first climbers to be dropped.
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Despite a second place finish on the Galibier stage helping him claim the King of the Mountains jersey, ensuring he did end up on the podium in Paris, Bardet sunk to 15th in the overall classification, half an hour down on victor Egan Bernal (Ineos).
“Despite the joy of winning the polka-dot jersey as the best climber of the Tour de France, the 2019 season did not satisfy the goals I set myself,” Bardet said.
In previous years Bardet has followed riding the Tour de France with races such as the Vuelta a España, Il Lombardia or the Deutschland Tour. However, this year the Frenchman and his team have decided it’s better for him to rest so he can come back stronger next season.
“After a few days of personal reflection and exchanges with management from the Ag2r La Mondiale team, it became clear to me that I needed to regenerate myself physically and mentally to come back stronger next season,” Bardet said.
“The schedule I want to race requires freshness in all areas. I will take advantage of the next few weeks to rest, while continuing to plan for the 2020 season, which is already looking very exciting.”
The polka-dot jersey at the Tour was a saving grace for Ag2r La Mondiale, who put their weight once again behind Bardet, with his previous best result coming in 2016 when he finished runner -up behind Chris Froome (Ineos).
Vicent Lavenu, the Ag2r La Mondiale team manager, sung his rider’s praises, saying he had “fully assumed his role as leader”.
“Romain Bardet has been the cornerstone of the team for a number of seasons, and he puts his energy and determination into practice: winning the polka-dot jersey, obtained with conviction and with the support of the team in a sometimes difficult sporting context. This once again emphasises all of his qualities as a sportsman and a man, he has thus fully assumed his role as leader,” Lavenu said.
“He carefully analysed his season with the sports and medical directors and it became clear that it was necessary for Romain to put an end to his season.
“This is a thoughtful and constructive decision that will allow us to define with him the profile of the 2020 season and its objectives which will, as always, be high. “
Bardet will therefore not travel to Yorkshire for the Worlds in September despite finishing second behind Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) at last year’s race in Innsbruck.