Instead of leading the charge on the first mountain stage of the Tour de France 2019, Romain Bardet was desperately trying to limit the damage on La Planche des Belles Filles.
“I was not at my level today, and it’s something hard and bitter,” Bardet said. “We’ll try to understand what happened. It’s complicated. I come to this Tour very, very motivated and there is still plenty of racing ahead of us.”
Bardet crossed the line 27th , 2min52s behind stage winner Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida), ceding more than one minute to defending champion Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos).
“It’s obviously not good news,” said AG2R La Mondiale boss Vincent Lavenu. “The hard work was done before the Tour and we expected the best, but he was not there today. Sometimes in cycling, one plus one doesn’t always equal two.”
“We will stay the course. There are still 15 days of racing ahead of us. I must remain optimistic and calm in face of the disappointment. Romain has the morale and we will keep fighting.”