He said it. The little French climber said it, despite knowing it was madness and everyone would think it was stupid.
Why? Romain Bardet couldn’t help himself. It’s the off-season, a time of loose talk and fantasy and a kind of memory wipe that makes people forget the extraordinary pain of riding a grand tour to win.
This is just what happens at this time of year. Bardet is relaxed, rejuvenated, full of optimism — and then the silly thought pops in his head, his mouth opens and out it comes, crazy as ever. Like Marco Pantani wacky.
Bardet, the great French hope, a man who made the podium in the 2016 and 2017 Tour de France, let it be known that he was curious about the Giro-Tour double.
Oh la-la-la-la. Really? It should be illegal during the off-season to even say those three words. It’s nonsense, click bait, cat nip for journalists trying to generate content.
“I could not ride the Tour as a follower, otherwise I will stay at home,” said Bardet. “I also know that the double challenge is complicated to achieve.”
Oh, it’s complicated alright. Ask Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana how much spring they had in their legs in France after a grueling three weeks in Italy.
We all appreciate Bardet’s bravado and joie de vivre and his attacking style of racing. So un-Sky, so anti-power meter, so running over with panache like aged camembert dripping off the cutting board. Still, please do not entertain this crazy notion, this cartoon ambition.
Bardet and his AG2R team management will be discussing the Giro-Tour double at their training camp. “We need to weigh the pros and cons. It is important that everyone gives his point of view and we decide at the end of November because the training in December will have to be prepared accordingly.”
We can save Monsieur Bardet a lot of time in evaluation. Here’s the breakdown: pros, none; cons, numerous.
Allez Romain. Enjoy the last few weeks of the off-season before things get very serious and focused. No more Giro-Tour double talk. It’s, how you say, cray-zee.