Polka-dot jersey a way for Bardet to 'save' his Tour de France

AG2R's Romain Bardet took the polka-dot jersey after stage 18 of the 2019 Tour de France

When Romain Bardet took out his earpiece and started to make his way sorrily up the Col du Tourmalet last weekend, AG2R La Mondiale manager Vincent Lavenu feared his star rider's Tour de France might end there. Five days on, the Frenchman has found new meaning in the race, infiltrating another breakaway on stage 18 on Thursday to take the polka-dot jersey. Bardet was in a sorry state five days ago. He described his Tourmalet meltdown – in which he lost 20 minutes and any hope of finishing on the podium again – as "torment", and spoke of a need to "reinvent" himself. The big, soul-searching questions will come in the off-season but, within this Tour, Bardet has already reinvented himself. With the general classification no longer on the agenda, he has taken the opportunity to get into breaks on the two mountain stages that have followed the Tourmalet. A ...

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