Descent to Glory
“Oh oui !!!!!!!”
That’s the simple message joyfully Tweeted by AG2R LA MONDIALE after Romain Bardet soloed to victory in Stage 18 of the Tour de France. We agree – oh, yes, what a victory!
Bardet’s win in Thursday’s 186.5km stage from Gap to Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne was AG2R LA MONDIALE’s second of the Tour, following the win by Alexis Vuillermoz on Stage 8. Bardet’s efforts also moved him into the top 10 in the general classification and into a tie with Joaquim Rodriguez in the mountains classificiation. The 24-year-old Frenchman was in the day’s main breakaway, leaving that group behind with a solo attack near the summit of the Col du Glandon. Bardet showed superb descending skills followed by a determined final ascent as he poured every last watt into his SRAM RED-equipped Focus Izalco Max.
Main and above photo ©TDWSport.com
“I had my friend Christophe Riblon in the front and Jan Bakelants (AG2R LA MONDIALE teammates) who both did a tremendous job. I knew that if I would make a break in the Glandon pass, with my descending talents I could make a difference,” Bardet said. “Everyone was very tired, and I took advantage of it. I can’t believe it because it was my goal to win a stage. After two podiums (in stages) at the Tour de France, a lot of energy expended.”
Added AG2R LA MONDIALE Sports Director Julien Jurdie: “A beautiful victory. I want to acknowledge Christophe Riblon and Jan Bakelants’ work. In the breakaway group it was important to have their support. This is a great day for the team.”
Photo ©BrakeThrough Media
Bardet choose a climber’s set up for the tough, technically demanding course – a SRAM WiFLi 11-32 cassette, Zipp 202 Tubular (a mountain goat of a wheelset), and a Quarq SRAM RED Power Meter to match his passion with precision.
“You could see Bardet’s class and determination as he rode to victory in the final kilometers. He gave a climbing and descending master class today and showed 100% confidence in his bike!” said Jason Phillips, SRAM’s Road Sports Marketing Manager for Europe. “We’re proud to be in partnership with AG2R LA MONDIALE because they bring that passion to cycling, along with meticulous preparation including selecting the right equipment for each stage and each rider’s task on that day.”
Interestingly, Bardet’s milestone victory last month in Stage 5 of the Critérium du Dauphiné came on the same course as Wednesday Stage’s 17 of the Tour. The preparation in the Alps paid off. “We recognized it and also the Dauphiné went through it. I really knew the road by heart,” Bardet said.
Oui, indeed! Congrats to Romain Bardet and our partners, Focus Bicycles and AG2R LA MONDIALE.