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Team coach Matt Winston told VeloNews a long lumpy time trial this weekend won’t stand in the way of any possible podium bid for Bardet.
“I think though when you look at his time trialing and the work he’s done with the experts in the team, and how much his time trialing has moved on over the years, TTs are not something we have to fear anymore,” Winston told VeloNews.
Bardet is currently caught chewing a conundrum between scrambling for the seconds he needs to hit the Paris podium and going full for a stage win as the Tour tilts into its final week.
The stage 20 TT could prove crucial if Bardet is in position for a podium this weekend.
A rolling 41km romp into Rocamadour could bring gains and losses far greater than all three days in the mountains put together.
Bardet lost a score of seconds on the GC group in the surging TT stage in Denmark at the start of the month and has no reputation as a rouleur.
The Frenchman ceded nearly 40 seconds to Tadej Pogačar and 22 seconds to nearest rival for fourth Adam Yates over the explosive 13.2km course in Copenhagen at the start of the month.
“Stage 20 is a long TT which suits him, it’s a hard TT, so if we’re in a position where we have a GC spot, when we go into that final TT we shouldn’t fear it,” Winston said.
— Team DSM (@TeamDSM) July 18, 2022
DSM is counting on Bardet’s work on the TT bike to count if Bardet is still in GC range on Saturday.
The team switched to Scott and its Plasma TT bike and Syncros components last winter, and poured R&D into its Nalini-partnered clothing concept.
Winston said Bardet is still pumping the power he might need to defend any GC position in what will be a leg-zapping time trial through the Occitanie on Saturday.
“He’s doing really good. He’s in really good shape and doing a super job. The numbers we’re hitting are really high and we’re really happy with the progress,” Winston said.
“But we still take it day by day. We don’t get ahead of ourselves and change all our plans toward GC, but we for sure look at it.”