Romain Bardet concluding impressive first season at AG2R La Mondiale
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Sunday, September 30, 2012

Romain Bardet concluding impressive first season at AG2R La Mondiale

by Kyle Moore at 5:53 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Giro di Lombardia
Young Frenchman signed through 2014, attacks in Il Lombardia

Romain BardetThe future seems bright at French team AG2R La Mondiale, with a host of new riders coming in for next season, and with several young names that are making waves in the squad. One of the emerging young riders is 21-year-old Romain Bardet, who has yet to claim his first professional victory, but who is concluding an impressive first season.

As he has throughout the season, Bardet was on the early attack in Saturday’s Giro di Lombardia and was the final man caught out of the initial breakaway after riding solo through the middle part of the race.

Though he was caught with more than 50km to race, Bardet still hung in to finish Il Lombardia in 29th place. The Frenchman had similar exploits in the GP de Montréal earlier in the month, when he was on the move before being caught near the finish, and then sticking around for a 22nd place spot.

After the race, Bardet acknowledged that the Monument was still too big for his capabilities, but he would not be deterred from attacking them in the near future.

“It’s a good learning experience to be at the front of such a race,” Bardet said on the team website afterward. “It’s still difficult for me to accompany the best riders and I know that it is expecting a lot to manage to get a good result at the finish. Today, we [the breakaway] were not able to get ahead of the field and we were inevitably caught by the peloton before the Ghisallo.”

In his first year, the young Frenchman continues to “ride into the unknown” in some of the world’s biggest races. Though he hasn’t gotten the result yet, he is satisfied in attempting.

“It’s still a beautiful and emotional moment. On the last climb I was missing something and I know that this is where I should have ridden hard. This morning, I went a little into the unknown and the day is for me a great satisfaction.”

Bardet also rode Milano-Torino, and told L’Equipe that he studied video of the race online. He also said how much he looked forward to Lombardia, comparing it to the Ardennes Classics, after completing the Amstel Gold Race and Flèche Wallone in the spring.

“I put this race on the same level as the Ardennes,” Bardet told the French newspaper before Lombardia. “I hope to get the chills when climbing the Madonna del Ghisallo with the church bells ringing. The course is beautiful but the scenario seems as if it’s already written. It is a power play in the final. It is difficult to escape.”

Bardet also stated his preference for the attacking style, and an unpredictable race.

“Some champions are able to reverse the scenario, but it’s complicated,” he added. “I like what Vincenzo Nibali did, at Lombardy last year, at Liege-Bastogne-Liege, and the Worlds. He takes risks, but it does not always pay off.”

Bardet was also in the long break in Amstel Gold, the last caught, and close to the finish. Though he received positive attention for this, like most others, Bardet would like a win out of his neo-pro season.

“Everyone talked about me that day, but I’ll speak of something else. I would have liked to win this year,” he admitted. “I was not far in the Tour d l’Ain [Bardet took second on a stage – ed.] but I was beaten. I race to win every Sunday. But in the World Tour, opportunities are rare.”


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