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Romain Bardet confirms transfer speculation and potential move away from AG2R La Mondiale

Joe Robinson
9 Jun 2020

Frenchman will return to Tour de France in 2020 but not for General Classification

French Grand Tour hope Romain Bardet has admitted he is open to a move away from AG2R La Mondiale for the 2021 season as he plans to race the Tour de France later this year but not for General Classification.

Speculation grew around the 29-year-old last week when it was established that Team Sunweb had offered the rider a contract for the 2021 season, promising to build their Grand Tour hopes around his ambitions.

Bardet has been with the AG2R La Mondiale team since turning professional in 2012 but is out of contract and potentially looking for a new beginning elsewhere.

Bardet's agent Joona Lauka then told De Telegraaf that his rider had yet to make any decisions but would only join a team with a 'strong ethic (against doping)' to which he listed Team Sunweb.

Bardet has since furthered the transfer rumour in an interview with French newspaper Le Montagne in which he suggested he may be at a point in his career to experience a new challenge.

'I will resume negotiations once the season has really started. For the moment, nothing is agreed. Stay or leave, this moment of reflection has not stopped. I know that the period is difficult for everyone. For sponsors, for teams,' said Bardet.

'I am reaching a key point in my career where I have acquired a lot of experience. But I also have a few good years left where I can make the most of my abilities. We are actively thinking about finding the best way at AG2R or another team to achieve this. I am at a point in my career where it is legitimate to have these thoughts.'

The 2020 season will now take a different shape for the Frenchman who had originally planned to skip the Tour de France in favour of the Giro d'Italia and Tokyo Olympics.

However, with the alterations to the calendar, Bardet will no longer have the Olympics to target and will, therefore, race the Tour in September, albeit not for General Classification.

Instead, Bardet will race the Tour for stage wins and to provide entertainment in the high mountains, an exciting prospect for fans, as he admits there is little pressure for him to perform.

This represents a second year on the trot in which Bardet will not be a factor in the General Classification fight at the Tour.

In 2019, the Frenchman had planned to fight for GC but bad form saw him struggle to contend with the best climbers. After losing significant time, Bardet then turned his attention to the King of the Mountains classification, eventually taking the polka dot jersey into Paris.

However, despite standing on the podium in Paris, Bardet admits that the satisfaction of winning a jersey was not enough to mask the disappointment of not contesting the overall win.

'Last year, I had a lot of expectations and I was disappointed. Even if bringing back the polka dot jersey was a satisfaction, I did not have much pleasure beyond that. I really want to come back to the Tour one day to be an actor, to raise my arm but I'm not going to put excessive pressure on this year's event,' said Bardet.

'This year, I will be more attacking and will not be focused on the General Classification. I will go there without pressure as it was not in my original programme. I have no particular expectations.'