“I have finished in the top 10 five times and nobody remembers it except the podiums. So here I want to show a more offensive and aggressive face. A successful Tour de France would be to win a stage and stay on the lookout for the yellow jersey, I think there can be twists and turns.
“We will have to find common ground to be neither too close nor too far in the GC and stay in the game to try on the yellow jersey. I have never worn it and I think there will be opportunities with this year’s profile. . ”
Bardet did not welcome the idea that he could sit down to waste time and give himself the opportunity to attack unhindered by the runners defending their top 10 GC positions. He said, however, that if it was out of the question to place in the top of the overall standings, he would not hold up in the concern of keeping a place in the bottom of the top ten.
“Willingly? I do not know. In any case, I won’t hang on if I see that I can’t be in the top five or six in the GC, ”he said.
“We saw at the Critérium du Dauphiné that everyone’s level was very high. It won’t be catastrophic if I lose 30 seconds or a minute a day, so that I can have a little more freedom at some point.
“Actually, it’s not really up to me. We know there are two teams – Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers – who can control the race after two days and if that is the case then not much will happen, and we’re going to be bored. .
“Now the course has been planned so that there is action and movement and so that the yellow jersey changes hands regularly. We have a real journey that is conducive to action. “
The two teams named by Bardet – Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers – are expected to dominate the Tour, with team managers Primož Roglič and Egan Bernal being the top two favorites to win the race.
Competition among GC runners is fierce after a number of runners, Bardet included, changed their schedules to run the Tour after the forced break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in the blocking of three Grands Tours over a 72 day period.
The peloton is not the reason why Bardet changed his goals for the Tour. Instead, he said he felt lucky to be running among such a top group of GC runners.
“The level is very high, we know that. There are young pilots who are pushing. But when I’m at my best I can compete, I know it. The Tour de France is an experience race that uses different qualities to last more than three weeks.
“I am lucky, as the protagonist, to attend such a“ crowded ”Tour de France. We saw the first stages in the Dauphiné – apart from Roglič, who was above the fray. Behind him is shoulder to shoulder. The overall level has increased, but I’m optimistic about my ability to fight with them. ”
At the end of September – whether or not he succeeds in adding to his tally of stage victories or grabbing a yellow jersey along the way – Bardet will have completed the last of his eight Tours de France at AG2R.
He is heading to Team Sunweb for 2021, but said his pending transfer doesn’t change anything for the Tour. Instead, he said his last Tour with his AG2R “family” would feel more special than the previous seven.
“I will enjoy every moment even more,” said Bardet. “I feel like part of a family here. I’m not leaving AG2R La Mondiale, I just chose to orient my career differently. It doesn’t complicate things, on the contrary, it makes every moment more intense.
“I feel full of energy and my form is improving. I finished the Dauphiné better than I started it. I feel fresh because the interrupted season means you don’t start tired already. All lights are green. “