"Doing nothing, just waiting for others to crack before you... No" - Romain Bardet admits he's done riding GC at Grand Tours

With Romain Bardet now having 16 Grand Tours in his legs, the latest of which saw him finish 9th at the 2024 Giro d'Italia, the Frenchman has revealed he is now completely done riding for general classification in the three-week races.

“The UAE train really crushed me on the last mountain stage, I really gave up," the 33-year-old, two-time podium finisher at the Tour de France reflects of his Giro d'Italia performance in conversation with L'Equipe. "Geraint Thomas, what he did again in the Giro (3rd at the age of 38 ed.), I am incapable of doing it. Do nothing in the Giro, zero initiative, just waiting for others to crack before you... No."

With a total of eight Grand Tour top-10s now on his palmares, Bardet somewhat understandably considers another relatively worthless. As such, the Frenchman is keen to change tact in future and opt a more stage hunting strategy. "Making a top 5 while following all the time while being on the verge of fainting, I feel like crap. I've done it too much: I've finished so many Grand Tours. the top 10 exhausted and without much satisfaction... A podium is different, but for another place, I prefer to burn my wings on one stage and try again to win one behind," he explains.

Bardet won't have to wait long for another crack at a Grand Tour, with the three-time Tour de France stage winner returning to his home Grand Tour next month. "The Tour is well laid out, the hard stages are seperated, that should give me the recovery time to be good on the days when I need it. I checked five, six stages. If everything goes well, I'll maybe have three opportunities to win," he previews. "For me, it's not a reward to go to the Tour, it's that we have something to do there. And I know it's still possible: when we see what Kwiatkowski, Woods, Wout Poels did last year... Physically, I'm also capable of it."

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