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"The difficulties will be more condensed in the 3rd week in the Pyrénées, but you can't plan anything in the Tour de France. You have to be able to adapt, but the profile of the tomorrow’s stage is not the most...

Photo: Sirotti








17.07.2014 @ 21:11 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

AG2r are enjoying their best ever Tour de France as they go into the first mountain stage with two riders in the top 10. Romain Bardet has stated his intention to ride aggressively but claims that tomorrow's final climb to Chamrousse is not suited to attacks.


With two riders in the top seven of the Tour de France, Team AG2R can play a leading role in the race as early as tomorrow in the Alps and try to unsettle Vincenzo Nibali, unstoppable so far. But team manager Vincent Lavenu insists on patience and caution.

"Tomorrow, we're in the Alps," he said. "The first stage is essentially the last climb to Chamrousse. It's not a very steep climb but it's long and can cause damage, especially in the heat. The day after is a more classical Alpine stage, with Izoard, the highlight of the Alps this year and the last climb to Risoul.


"Of course, if there's a chance to attack, we'll take it. But you can not attack recklessly. Today, you don't attack like in the Merckx days . When Nibali attacked at La Planche des Belles Filles, he didn't take more than 15 seconds on Thibaut Pinot in the end. We must play it clever.

"The white jersey, it's true that Romain wants it and it's great that there is a fight between two young Frenchmen. They're the same generation, they like each other, they respect each other. But I'm not sure the white jersey battle can have an impact on the GC.

"Jean-Christophe [Peraud] was a little short in the Dauphine but he is now at his peak. It's true he has a larger range, he's strong in time trials, but he has above all a big engine and a splendid form. 

"The most important thing for now is to manage them well, to avoid for them to be too exposed to media pressure. It's the journalists job to look after them but we must protect them because the fresher riders in the third week will make a difference."


“I'll do my best to defend the white jersey but first of all, I fight to defend my fourth place overall, so the two goals are combined," Bardet said. "It'll be a standard uphill finish tomorrow. I expect Nibali to play in defense. I'll attack, why not, if legs permit. For now, they're good.


"It was hot today but it'll be worse tomorrow. I know this region well. Approaching Grenoble, it's usually hard to breathe but it should be a bit fresher on the way up to Chamrousse.


“I think it will be a classic mountain stage with a long breakaway that could be caught by the pack as there will be 18 kilometers of ascent at the end. Lot of riders may want to gain time overall and Nibali should be in riding defensively. I think if there’s a fight, it will happen in the last kilometers. The bottom of “Chamrousse” is difficult but the final is pretty easy. The heat will be the determining factor.

"The difficulties will be more condensed in the 3rd week in the Pyrénées, but you can't plan anything in the Tour de France. You have to be able to adapt, but the profile of the tomorrow’s stage is not the most appropriate to go on the offensive.”



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