Gadret considering Tour participation, would play support role if he goes
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Monday, June 06, 2011

Gadret considering Tour participation, would play support role if he goes

by VeloNation Press at 9:19 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Giro d'Italia
 
Says its impossible for Ag2r La Mondiale to have five leaders

John GadretDespite taking a career-best fourth place in the recent Giro d’Italia, John Gadret has said that if he does the Tour de France, he is likely to play a supporting role for others rather than seeking to lead the team.

The French climber is still weighing up whether or not he will do the race with the Ag2r La Mondiale squad. He went deep in the Giro and knows that there is a chance that he could be tired in July. Should he go, though, he argues that there’s a danger if the team throws its weight behind too many riders.

“If I go to the Tour, it will be as a support rider for [Jean Christophe] Péraud and [Nicolas] Roche. It's the same for Hubert,” he told Cyclism’Actu. “We can not have five leaders on a Grand Tour, this is not possible. This is also why if I go to the Tour, it will not be to aim for the general classification, unless I feel very strong or if Vincent [Lavenu, general manager] asks me to fight. But we'll have to wait for the races like the Critérium du Dauphiné to see where Péraud and Roche are, physically. Then we can make an initial assessment as the Tour approaches.”

Gadret and Roche had a well-publicised fallout at last year’s race, with the Frenchman refusing to give the designated team leader a wheel when he punctured at a crucial point. As a result of that, Roche lost time and missed out on what would have been a higher overall placing. He ultimately finished 15th, but could have been a few places higher.

The Irishman wasn’t impressed, letting fly with both barrels in his newspaper diary the day after the incident. He said that if Gadret was found dead, he’d be the prime suspect, and also said that he visualised throwing him through the window of the team bus.

Both riders have since put the incident behind them, though, and Gadret appears willing to ride for the Irishman if he’s there in July.

In Lavenu’s eyes, the dynamic on the team may however be different after his stage win and fourth overall in the Giro. Gadret has stepped up a level this season, while Roche has been struggling a little due to a disrupted winter. However he told VeloNation on Saturday that he feels he is making progress, and he hopes to be back in strong shape by the Tour de France.

Although Gadret is French, he admits to having a preference for the Italian race. That seems unusual, but he said that its down to the nature of the route. “I know that the Tour of Italy suits me better than the Tour de France,” he said. “It’s kind of my race of choice. The Tour is of course a very beautiful race and is also difficult, but the climbs are less steep [than the Giro]. That does not mean I dislike it, but I never really did the Tour as a leader, and so we cannot really draw any conclusions.

Gadret’s history in the Giro is certainly better than in his home race; his third place plus stage win of this year add to other strong showings in the past. In 2006 he picked up three top ten stage places, including fifth on the Monte Bondone stage and sixth on the Plan de Corones. Last year, he clocked up five top ten placings in the Giro, amongst them third in the mountain time trial to the Plan de Corones. He was also thirteenth overall.

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