Riding “without thinking about the next day” and still at least in the general classification. A few years ago, Romain Bardet’s pre-Tour conferences did not really have this carefree taste. It was about the podium, minutes not to lose on a time trial, effort management. Everything was planned to try to get on the box three weeks later on the Champs-Élysées, which he succeeded twice (2nd in 2016, 3rd in 2017).
None of that in 2022. After a year of absence, and an infuriating abandonment on May 20 at the Giro when he seemed in sparkling form, the Auvergnat of the DSM lets himself be carried away by his enthusiasm. And by the warm welcome given by the Danish public on Wednesday evening in Copenhagen during the big presentation.
In what state of mind do you find yourself on the eve of the Grand Départ and the day after that evening in Tivoli Gardens ?
ROMAIN BARDET. We had a great presentation yesterday, it was nice, I missed it last year to be honest. There is no doubt, I have a good feeling that we have arrived safely and that we will soon be ready to leave.
What goals are you setting for yourself at the start of the race?
We focus on the steps. The approach has not changed. I don’t have any real certainties about my level and this first week. It doesn’t detract from my motivation but I want to run without thinking about tomorrow. There is no overall approach like in the Giro.
I’m going to run like we ran the Vuelta last year, in an offensive way with every day of work for our sprinters and our classic riders. I will then have my chance in the mountains in stages that I like. At the start, I will be there as a team member to protect us from the wind and do the right sprints.
How do you view the absence of Julian Alaphilippe?
It’s a shame not to have Julian for the world of cycling and for the French especially. He will be missed at the Tour. All these last years, he has shone and made the race shine with his brilliance. But now, we know that these are the hazards of a high-level career. It will make his return even more beautiful, I’m sure.
What did you particularly miss in the Tour de France?
It is the major event of the year. Especially since this summer, there is such a variety of terrain, leg runners will have plenty to express themselves. I had a year of hindsight to grasp its grandeur. I have the impression of approaching this new participation with even more desire and the eyes of rediscovered children.
After the Giro, I cut a little. The time to heal first and then we are well prepared. It was easier to move on from the disappointment of the Giro thanks to this prospect of the Tour de France. At the end, I was quite happy to tell myself that I had enough time and weeks to prepare well.