Bardet ruled out of Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge following Route d'Occitanie crash

Cyclingnews
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 Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) rode to eighth place on stage 3 of the 2020 Route d’Occitanie, despite being in pain following a crash on the opening day
Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) rode to eighth place on stage 3 of the 2020 Route d’Occitanie, despite being in pain following a crash on the opening day

Romain Bardet will miss Thursday’s Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge due to the injuries he sustained in a crash at the Route d'Occitanie. His AG2R La Mondiale team stated that he will return to action at next week’s Critérium du Dauphiné as he builds towards the Tour de France.

"Suffering from bruises to his left elbow following his fall during the second stage of the Route d'Occitanie, Romain Bardet will not take part in the CIC Mont Ventoux Denivelé Challenge tomorrow. He will not be replaced," read a statement from AG2R on Wednesday. "He will be at the start of the Criterium du Dauphiné."

Despite his crash, Bardet finished eighth on the mountaintop finish on the Col de Beyrèdestage 3 on Monday, 1:18 down on stage winner – and eventual overall winner – Egan Bernal (Team Ineos), and then 17th on Tuesday's fourth and final stage after working for AG2R teammate and stage winner Benoît Cosnefroy.

Bardet told the French press on Tuesday that he had been suffering since his crash. Initially concerned about his left knee, he was now more concerned about his left arm.

"My race stopped on the first day," Bardet told L'Equipe. "I've just been surviving since then, and don't even know whether I'm going to be able to continue racing, as I'm in so much pain."

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"I'm going to have some x-rays tomorrow [Wednesday], and just try to look after myself," he said, adding that his arm was particularly painful, and that he was having trouble even holding his handlebars.

The bruising on Bardet’s arm has forced his withdrawal from the Mont Ventoux Dénivelé Challenge, where he placed second a year ago, but he will return to action at the Critérium du Dauphiné [August 12-16], which will be his final outing before the Tour de France gets underway in Nice on August 29.

"The Tour is still a few weeks away," Bardet said on Tuesday, "but I don't want to risk causing any further damage before my big goals."