“The more the years go by, the harder it gets” - Romain Bardet reflects ruefully on inconsistent Giro d'Italia after 9th overall finish

Having come into the 2024 Giro d'Italia high on confidence and buoyed by positive results at the Tour of the Alps and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, expectations were lofty for Romain Bardet. Although he secured another Grand Tour top-10, the Team DSM-Firmenich PostNL wasn't totally content with his performance.

“The more the years go by, the harder it gets,” the experienced, 33-year-old Frenchman admitted after the final stage in conversation with Eurosport. A two-time podium finisher at the Tour de France, Bardet was once viewed as the big hope of French Grand Tour cycling. As happens to all though, Bardet is beginning to feel the effects of father time. “I just don't have the consistency over three weeks anymore."

Pre-race, Bardet admitted he would have to attempt a different strategy at this Giro and announced plans to try and emulate his compatriot Thibaut Pinot's performances from the 2023 edition to launch himself into the top-5 via breakaway raids. Although Bardet was able to get in a couple of breaks during the three weeks, he was never able to fully make the most of them.

The general was not my primary objective, but for the team It was important, so I tried to hang on a little. There was still the satisfaction, on my good days, of seeing that I was with the best. But on 2 or 3 days I felt it," he assesses honestly. "Fatigue, that's what makes the difference with the top 5 in the general classification who were really solid."

"It's been a big block for me since the start of the season, I haven't had much breath. I attacked the Giro on the wrong foot, with my health failing me and I tried to get back on track, but it was one day with, one day without," Bardet concludes. "No regrets, I gave my best. On Saturday, I really was empty. The road put everyone in their place, so I can have no bitterness about that."

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