Romain Bardet has impressed this season and with a high overall finish in the Tour de France big things are expected from him.
Bardet took part in just his second Tour de France this year and finished in sixth place but was in the podium positions going into the final week of racing. The Frenchman also nearly got his hands on the prestigious best young rider jersey but was beaten to it by fellow countryman Thibaut Pinot. Bardet didn't just do well in the Tour though as he managed to secure other impressive results.
He finished first in La Drôme Classic, second in the Tour de l'Ain as well as coming fifth in the Critérium du Dauphiné. The 23-year-old believes he has had a good season and admits his Tour experience will help him challenge for the top positions in the coming years.
According to Cycling News, Bardet said: "Sometimes it’s hard to be objective. At the beginning of the season I thought that it would be a great year if I could make a top 10 in a Classic and a one-week race in the WorldTour.
"I did both and I did more than that. Of course I was really happy with how the Tour de France went. I wasn’t prepared to be in the position of fighting for the podium after two weeks.
"For me, mentally, it was something new. I didn’t believe too much in myself but now for the next years I will have more confidence in myself to fight for the first positions."
Bardet must compete with best
Bardet will have to compete with the best if he is going to win one of the Grand Tours and in my opinion he will have to improve a lot if he is going to beat them. The young Frenchman realises he will have tough competition in the big races and thinks it will be hard to win the Tour.
He added: "For me, I don’t wake up every morning thinking that I am going to win the Tour. It is not my prerogative, but I will do my best. It is not that I don’t believe in my abilities, but it is not my motivation.
"We have a really strong generation in the international bunch like (Nairo) Quintana and (Michal) Kwiatkowski, who are really strong. We will see, but it’s hard to say."
Bardet keen to race in Italy
After the 2015 Giro route was released, Bardet also admitted he would like to race in Italy due to the course but that would probably mean missing the Tour which would be tough for the young man.
"I've seen the route of the Giro d'Italia and I’m pretty sure it is the Grand Tour that suits me best. But it is hard for a French guy to miss the Tour.
"I have done the Tour twice and it has worked well both times that I’ve done it, so I think I will continue in this direction next year but I hope to be able to ride the Giro d'Italia in the following years. I will also try to do a good Classics campaign."