SAINT-HILAIRE-DE-BRETHMAS, France (VN) – A stage winner at the Tour of Switzerland, a top 20 finisher in the Giro d’Italia in one of his four consecutive appearances in the corsa rosa, and now renowned for his bike-packing exploits with his former teammate Conor Dunne, Larry Warbasse wants to fulfill another goal this season by making the Tour de France debut that has eluded him until now.
As on any WorldTour squad, this objective is not going to come easily, but especially so on a French team like Warbasse’s AG2R-Citroën that also, thanks to having the fifth-biggest team budget in the sport, features numerous riders pushing to secure one of the eight coveted slots for July’s big race.
“I’ve ridden the Giro four times, the Vuelta twice, so I’d really like to ride the Tour de France this year. I’ll definitely have to show that I’m ready because, obviously, it’s not easy to be selected,” the 31-year-old American told VeloNews prior to the start of stage four of the Étoile de Bessèges.
“I just need to be in the best shape that I can in some of the early races, try to get a result for myself somewhere, and then hopefully I’ll be in the right place to be considered for selection,” he said.
Warbasse described his form as “decent” ahead of Bessèges’s “queen” stage with its steep uphill finish on Mont Bouquet.
“For the first race it’s where I expected to be just about,” he added. “The team will be getting behind Clément Champoussin today [Saturday], he’s been climbing really well. He’s not involved in the battle for the general classification, so I think the GC contenders look a little less towards him. I’ll be helping to look after him.”
Assisting Champoussin is precisely the kind of spadework that Warbasse and every other AG2R domestique will have to undertake if they to be in with a chance of making the cut for the Tour. Warbasse’s program post-Bessèges underlines that he’s one in the group who is under consideration.
“After [Bessèges], I’m doing Haut Var, which is right close to home so that’s cool, then it’s Paris-Nice, Catalonia, the Ardennes Classics, Romandie. So it’s quite a solid schedule,” he said.
Add in the Critérium du Dauphiné or the Tour of Switzerland after those events, and the next step could be to the Tour de France for Warbasse.