AG2R La Mondiale’s Romain Bardet will line up at Belgian one-day race the Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday – his first race since quitting the Tour de France last month with concussion sustained in a crash on stage 13.
According to L’Equipe, Bardet is hoping to now race up until the rescheduled Tour of Flanders on October 18, after which he’ll bring the curtain down on nine seasons with Vincent Lavenu’s AG2R outfit, with Bardet having signed a two-year contract that will see the 29-year-old move to Sunweb from next season.
“I’m just happy to be back in competition and to be back with the team,” Bardet said on the AG2R website. “I couldn’t see myself ending the season and my beautiful story with the AG2R La Mondiale team with a crash like that.”
Bardet crashed heavily with around 90 kilometres to go of the 13th stage of the Tour from Châtel Guyon to Pas de Peyrol, and appeared unsteady on his feet before remounting and finishing the stage in mid-September.
However, he was a non-starter the next day in Clermont-Ferrand, and MRI scans later revealed a small haemorrhage as a result of the concussion.
“The first days after abandoning the Tour were physically difficult, but I was very well taken care of by the team’s medical service and that of [French rugby union club] AS Montferrand, who specialise in the treatment of concussions, and who helped me in my convalescence.”
Bardet was told he could resume training at the end of September, and will now line up at the Brabantse Pijl and will then also ride Sunday’s Paris-Tours for the first time in his career, followed by Flanders the following weekend.
“I’m not used to going to a race with so little training and no guarantees,” he told L’Equipe of Wednesday’s Brabantse Pijl. “But I’ll be there to help the team rather than riding for myself.
“We have a competitive Classics group, and I hope to be able to play a role,” Bardet said, referring to the upcoming one-day races. “I’d like to be able to repay my teammates, and especially Oliver Naesen, and I hope to soon be back to my best.”