Four years after his last stage victory on a Grand Tour, the Auvergnat raised its arms at the end of the 14th stage of the Vuelta, at Pico Villuercas.
July 13, 2017. Between Pau and Peyragudes, then runner at AG2R La Mondiale, Romain Bardet won the Tour de France ahead of Rigoberto Uran and Fabio Aru. It was his last Grand Tour victory. Four years later, the Auvergnat, now with Team DSM, put an end to this shortage by raising its arms at the end of the 14e stage of the Vuelta, between Don Benito and Pico Villuercas, solo. The second French victory in Spain, after the success of Florian Sénéchal on Friday in the sprint.
A beautiful revenge
And the least we can say is that Bardet went for this success. Originally, he came to the Tour of Spain to play the general, after a successful Tour de Burgos with a stage and a sixth place overall, but the French suffered a big crash from the fifth stage. of this Vuelta. Excluding any possibility of appearing well in the general classification. So the Auvergne remobilized, he recovered from his multiple bruises and went back to battle. With two objectives: the classification of the mountain and a stage victory. And on Saturday, Bardet hit hard, making the difference in the ultimate ascent. Starting in the breakaway of the day (18 riders), which was the victory, he released his competitors five kilometers from the finish. On the pedal because he was quite simply the strongest. None of his opponents could see him again and he stuck 44 seconds to Jesus Herrada (Cofidis) and Jay Vine (Alpecin), respectively second and third in the 14th stage.
Double blow for Bardet
Very happy to achieve this first success on a Grand Tour since 2017, the Team DSM rider confided his relief at the finish of the stage: “The wait has been long. I made several second places but today I raced hard. I knew that if I didn’t win, I had the polka-dot jersey so I didn’t focus too much on the stage victory and I was successful. “ Indeed, with his success, Romain Bardet also won big points for the mountain classification. From now on, the jersey belongs to him with 50 points on the clock, nineteen more than Damiano Caruso (Bahraïn-Victorious). If his first goal was achieved, a stage victory, he now has a week left to take the jersey of the best climber to the finish. And from Sunday, many will be distributed with a new mountain stage between Navalmoral de la Mata and El Barraco (197.5 km).
Regarding the fight for the leader’s jersey, Odd Christian Eiking (Intermarché-Wanty Gobert) kept his red leader’s jersey since the Norwegian ended up in the wheels of Guillaume Martin (Cofidis), still second. Third overall, Primoz Roglic recovered sixteen seconds from the leader of the Vuelta and came back to 1’36.