• Romain Bardet (C) remains the great French Hope for the Tour de France. (Getty)
French Tour hope Romain Bardet likes what he sees of the 2019 Tour de France route including a stage and finish in his birthplace.
By
Cycling Central

26 Oct - 8:08 AM  UPDATED 26 Oct - 9:05 AM

After finishing second overall in 2017, Bardet slipped to sixth in 2018 in a race which was held tightly by perennial winners Sky.

The 2019 route, however, appears to favour Bardet's talents, with 30 important climbs on the menu of which five ends in a summit finish.

"It's a very beautiful course, quite difficult on paper with very little downtime," Bardet said. "Many middle-sized mountains; and any time there are mid-sized mountain stages, they are very tricky with uncertain outcomes.

"Then there are the very high mountains as well, with those mythical passes, the Izoard, Tourmalet, Galibier and Izeran. These important tests at altitude should be able to widen the gap between the favourites.

Tour de France 2019: Bring your climbing legs
The 2019 edition of the Tour de France will be the most mountainous in its history, with 30 climbs along the 3,460km route set over 21 stages and two rest days.

While Bardet has evolved into a competent time trial rider, his performances against the clock are more defensive instead of an opportunity to gain time. With only a 27km team time trial and similar individual effort, he can breathe a little easier knowing that with this Tour, the climbs are what matter.

"The time trials are placed rather early in the race, which could help unblock the leading positions ahead of the last days, as it happened last year, he said.

WATCH: Tour de France 2019 Map

More incentive for Bardet lies on Stage 9, a punchy 170km effort to his birthplace in Brioude. While it looks to favour a rider more like Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe), the AG2R rider is expecting a big welcome.

"Happily, there is an edition that will pass over my home roads, including a finish in Brioude, the city where I was born.

"It’s a great reward for the Auvergne region and all the cycling enthusiasts there. It’s a nice little wink for me too.

"There is something very special about being able to race at home, which I already had the pleasure of doing two years ago. It looks to be a very nice party."