Rider type: Climber
Biggest success: 2 stage wins, Tour des Pays de Savoie 2011
Club 2011: Chambéry Cyclisme Formation
Team 2012: Ag2r
Best Mock List ranking: -
Things go so quickly in cycling these day, that it is not wrong to ask who will be the new Thibaut Pinot. The young Kenny Ellisonde, next year Pinot's teammate at FDJ, would be a candidate. Scouts trust him with that kind of development and have therefore placed him on the 2011 Mock List. But even better is his countryman Romain Bardet, who will ride as a neo-pro with Ag2r in the coming season and will learn from such riders as Gadret or Peraud.
The review of Bardet's career to date starts with his last season as a junior. In 2008, Bardet showed his talents at the Ronde des Vallees (1.1U), where he finished second behind Johan Le Bon in the time trial, and behind Wesley Kreder and Kenny Elissonde as third in the second half-stage, which gave him the second ranking overall. Further results – overall 12th at the Peace Race (2.NC), 13th at the Junior Worlds, 12th at the European championships, and 10th in the Alpine Classics for juniors – gave notice that Bardet had the basis to be one of the greats.
In 2009, the Frenchman, riding for CR4C Roanne, established himself in the espoirs class. At the Tour des Pays de Savoie (2.2U), which was to become Bardet's favourite race, he finished fourth on the difficult mountain stage to Saint-Francois-Longchamp behind Saggiorato, Gastauer and van Garderen. He weakened a bit with is seventh place at the mountaintop finish at La Toussuire, but ended up fifth overall ahead of of current pros Pinot (!) and Butler. Otherwise Bardet's wins were limited to smaller French races.
He did it again the following year, when he rode for Chambery Cyclisme, where he was able to bring in more international results. He finished twelfth in the peloton at Lüttich-Bastogne-Lüttiche for Espoirs (1.2U) and at the Giro della Regioni (2.NC) he owed his eighth place overall to a sixth place finish on the mountain stage at Bagno di Romagna, about a minute behind overall winner Enrico Battaglin. At the Ronde de l'Isard's fourth stage he celebrated his first international win ahead of Navardauskas, Bonnin, Bennett and Landa, which led to his final ninth place overall. In contrast to the previous year, at the Tour des Pays de Savoie (2.2U) he limited himself to the difficult mountain stage over the Colle San Carlo to La Thuile, finishing second behind the American Talansky. However, he finished only eighth overall.
As a reward he was allowed to start for the first time at the Tour de l'Ain (2.1) for the French national team to measure himself against the pros and finished in a respectable 34th place. Back in his age group, he was sixth overall at the Tour de l'Avenir (2.NC), finishing ahead of such current pros as Bonnin, Atapuma, Eijssen and Matthews, which he mainly owed to his escape with countryman Hardy and the German Rösch on the way to Vals-les-Bains, where he finished second. On the three mountain stages, which were dominated by Quintana, Bardet constantly stayed around the 15th place. Further noteworthy results included his seventh place at the national U-23 race and a 10th place in the Piccolo Giro Lombardia.
The 2011 season has so far been a markedly improved copy of the previous year. Nationally, his biggest win was the overall victory plus two stages at the Tour de l'Ardeche Meridionale. At Lüttich-Bastogne-Lüttich (1.2U), he was beaten only by Tosh van der Sande. He brought in strong results in Italy as overall sixth in the Toscana – Coppa delle Nazione (2.NC), behind such riders as Preidler and Aru, was ninth in the GP Palio del Recioto (1.2U) and was sixth at the Giro del Friuli Venezia Giula (2.2), where he narrowly missed a stage win against Australian Patrick Lane.
At the Ronde de l'Isard (2.2U), he improved his 2010 result by finishing fourth overall, but was unable to really do anything against the latter winner Elissonde as well as Bennett and Dombrowski. He nearly missed the Tour des Pays de Savoie (2.2) due to an auto accident. Therefore his strong second place overall was more surprising, with two stage wins in La Thuile and Les Houches, although he lost three minutes to the Russian Novikov.
He again joined the French national team for the Tour de l'Ain (2.1), which he raced more successfully than in 2010. With two top ten placings, including fourth out of a 15-rider group of favourites at the mountaintop finish in Jura, he went with high expectations into the closing mountain stage which finished on the Grand Colombier. He finished only fifteenth and four minutes down, but in the end he was a respectable eleventh overall, abour five minutes behind David Moncoutie.
In light of his fifth place in the French U-23 championship, one can look forward to what he might accomplish at the Piccolo Giro di Lombardia and of course especially at the Tour de l'Avenir. Ag2r can look forward to a strong climber.
At the Tour de l'Avenir Bardet presented himself climing well as usual, he however showed some unusual sprinting skills as well. At two medium hard stages he finished second, the Queen's stage he even won. Because he lost some time at this fairly chatic race during the third stage the probably strongest man in the race only finished 12th.
Nominated by virtualprofit, written by virtualprofit, translated by Tick