To leave a disappointing 2019 behind, Romain Bardet went for a radical change. After seven years focusing exclusively on the Tour de France, he decided to aim for the Giro d’Italia for the first time. This is why the Tour of the Alps, scheduled from April 20th to 24th in South Tyrol, Tyrol and Trentino, is the perfect approach towards the Corsa Rosa, but also a good way to aim for a prestigious result even before that.
Finishing last season with no victories, despite the consolation of the polka dot jersey in the Grand Boucle, has pushed him to look for other targets. “My racing calendar has always been the same for the last eight years and it’s time to experience something new – the rider from AG2R La Mondiale explained -. Giro d’Italia is part of the history of cycling, with legendary climbs and enthusiastic fans. Tour of the Alps is a key test before the Corsa Rosa but also Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I can’t wait for that moment”.
The French rider was runner-up of 2016 Tour de France and third in 2017, but he has also reached the podium in Liège-Bastogne-Liège and Strade Bianche as well as a silver medal in the road race of the 2018 World Championship in Innsbruck, the Austrian city that is going to host the first two stages of the Euro-regional race.
“The Tour of the Alps counts on five intense stages, but at the same time not too stressful – the 29-year-old continued -. The position in the calendar is perfect and I like the format of short and sparkling stages. I hope to be competitive and have good feelings right away, in order to gain confidence for the following races”.
For the rider from Brioude it is going to be the debut at the Tour of the Alps, but the Italian fans can remember him at the Giro del Trentino in 2015 and 2016, when he finished 9th and 6th overall respectively. “I have good memories of those experiences. This year the race ends on the Lake Garda which is one of my favorite places in Italy. We can have fun and test the legs surrounded by beautiful scenery and very challenging climbs”.
Monday, April 20th: Brixen/Bressanone – Innsbruck, 142,8 Km
Elevation gain: 1950 m. Difficulty: **
Tuesday, April 21st: Innsbruck – Feichten im Kaunertal, 121,5 Km
Elevation gain: 2640 m. Difficulty: ***
Wednesday, April 22nd: Imst – Naturns/Naturno, 158,7 Km
Elevation gain: 2290 m. Difficulty: ***
Thursday, April 23rd: Naturns/Naturno – Valle del Chiese/Pieve di Bono, 168,6 Km
Elevation gain: 3880 m. Difficulty: ****
Friday, April 24th: Valle del Chiese/Idroland – Riva del Garda, 120,9 Km
Elevation gain: 2230 m. Difficulty: ***