Romain Bardet pulls out of Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge with injury

The AG2R La Mondiale rider fell on the first day of the Route d'Occitanie last week

Romain Bardet suffered a heavy crash on stage one of the recent Route d’Occitanie and has been forced to pull out of Thursday’s Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge due to injury to his elbow.

The climbing specialist was using the race as a warm up towards the Tour de France, but will now resume racing at the Critérium du Dauphiné next Wednesday with bruising to his elbow.

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In an interview with L’Equipe on Wednesday he said: “My race stopped on the first day.”

“I’ve just been surviving since then, and don’t even know whether I’m going to be able to continue racing, as I’m in so much pain.

“I’m going to have some X-rays tomorrow, and just try to look after myself.

“The Tour is still a few weeks away, but I don’t want to risk causing any further damage before my big goals.”

>>> Watch: Chris Froome responds to French fans booing at La Route d’Occitanie

The winner of the king of the mountains at the Tour de France has since confirmed he will not take the start of the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, where he finished second last year, so he can rest and recover.

The main issue is with his left side, especially his arm as he is complaining about pulling on the handlebars, especially when climbing.

In a statement, his Ag2r La Mondiale team said: “Suffering from bruises to his left elbow following his fall during the second stage of the Route d’Occitanie, Romain Bardet will not take part in the CIC Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge tomorrow. He will not be replaced. He will be at the start of the Critérium du Dauphiné.”

The French rider did manage eighth place on the summit finish at the Route d’Occitanie where he crossed the line at a very respectable 1-18 down on the fully fit Egan Bernal, who went on to win the overall.

Bardet was originally down to race the Giro d’Italia before the pandemic, but has now turned his attentions back to his home Grand Tour, with the Giro taking on three time trials, and a chance to redeem himself after what was a disappointing race for him last year.