Bardet originally planned to focus on the Giro d’Italia this year, but in the end, he is returning to the Tour in the post-COVID-19 calendar.
Bardet will be bolstered by a diverse squad including Mikael Cherel, Nans Peters, Benoit Cosnefroy, Pierre Latour, Oliver Naesen, Clement Venturini, and Alexis Vuillermoz.
Cosnefroy, Vuillermoz, and Clement Venturini are punchy riders that could shine on the many moderate hilly stages while Cherel and Latour will provide solid support to Bardet in the high mountains, and Belgian classics specialist Naesen offers key support on the flat stages.
Bardet finished on the Tour de France podium in 2016 and 2017, but was frustrated with poor overall showings the last two years despite the fact that he won the polka-dot jersey awarded to the best all-around climber in 2019. But after a finishing sixth in the recent Critérium du Dauphiné, and 10th in the French championships on a course that did not play into his climbing strengths this past Sunday, Bardet appears to be peaking perfectly for the Tour. And this year’s Tour is tailor-made for an opportunistic climber like Bardet if he is at his best.
“We are going to start this Tour de France with ambition but humility and without pressure,” said longtime team manager Vincent Lavenu. “Romain Bardet, our leader, has proven that he is back among the best riders in the peloton. So we are approaching this event with serenity. We are here to aim for the best overall finish possible. But we can also aim for stage victories with riders like Oliver Naesen, Alexis Vuillermoz, Benoit Cosnefroy.”