Romain Bardet, the best French chance for the general classification after the fall of Thibaut Pinot in the first stage, had to abandon the Tour de France on Friday evening September 11, suffering from a concussion after falling in a downhill during the 13th step.
The Auvergnat runner took exams at the Clermont-Ferrand University Hospital after the finish of the race at Puy Mary (Cantal). He occupied 11th place in the general classification. “The fall was violent, downhill, and I struggled all day, declared Romain Bardet. The medical examinations confirmed what I had foreseen and I am not able to continue the race ”.
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Second in the Tour in 2016 and third in 2017, Romain Bardet was the best French chance for the general classification after the fall of Thibaut Pinot in Nice. His retirement is the first of his career in the Tour de France in which he has participated every year since his first participation in 2013.
Date of resumption of competition according to the evolution
Winner of several mountain stages in previous years, he brought back the polka-dot jersey for the best climber last year on the Champs-Élysées. “Romain had a brain scan which did not reveal any lesion”, said Dr Eric Bouvat, doctor of the French team. However, it is necessary that he stops his sports activities. His date of resumption of competition will be defined according to the evolution ”.
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The start of the 13e stage was given in Châtel-Guyon (Puy-de-Dôme), near his place of residence in the vicinity of Clermont-Ferrand. The arrival was judged at Puy Mary which he described on Friday morning as “A great spot”, “One of my favorite places”.
At the start of the race, he met his wife Amandine and his first child Angus, born during confinement, on the side of the road. “The legs are one thing, success is something else, he admitted before this step. It’s OK for now. But there is a part of fatality in this ”.
A fall of 65 km / hour
Romain Bardet fell at the 100th kilometer of the route of the 13e 191.5 km stage, at the same time as the Dutchman Bauke Mollema, soon forced to retire (fracture of the left wrist), and other riders including the Colombian Nairo Quintana. Stunned, his right hip raw, he got back on the bike to take his place in the peloton and finish the stage.
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If he was left behind on the ramps of the last two climbs, the Frenchman managed to limit the loss of time in the general classification, falling from fourth to eleventh place, three minutes from the wearer of the yellow jersey, the Slovenian Primoz Roglic.
The fall occurred in a wide downhill curve, at a speed of 65 km / h according to the details he gave on arrival. “At this speed, it’s not a trivial fall”, had reacted in race his sports director Julien Jurdie.
“I was cursed today”
“It couldn’t be worse todaysaid the runner after the finish. I stumbled and hit my head. I struggled to find my senses instantly. I have severe pain in my right leg. I lost all my feelings in my fall, I was cursed today ”.
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Romain Bardet’s 8th Tour de France, his last under the colors of the AG2R La Mondiale team for which he has been racing since his debut, therefore ended prematurely. Next year, the native of Brioude (Haute-Loire) will run for the German team Sunweb.