Romain Bardet will not start in the Tour de France next year. The French classification rider wants to ride the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a España and also focuses on the Olympic road race and the World Cycling Championships.

The 29-year-old Bardet was in 2016 (second) and 2017 (third) on the Tour stage in Paris. This year he only finished 15th, but he won the polka dot jersey.

"It was not an easy decision," Bardet said Wednesday at a press conference of his AG2R team. "But it's time to do something else."

Bardet debuted in the 2013 in the Tour and has never been missing in the biggest race in the world ever since. "I want to leave my comfort zone. New experiences will make me a better rider and also help with future Tour participations."

Bardet took part in the Vuelta (seventeenth place) in 2017 alone and never started in the Giro. "2020 is a perfect year to ride the Giro for the first time. I don't want to regret having done it too late in my career," says the Frenchman.

Pierre Latour was the best youngster in the Tour this year. (Photo: Pro Shots)

Latour leader of AG2R in Tour de France

Due to the absence of Bardet, his countryman Pierre Latour will be the leader of AG2R in the Tour in July. The 26-year-old rider won the white jersey as the best youngster this year and became thirteenth in the final classification.

"A new generation is coming, with Pierre as an important rider," said Bardet. "This is a great opportunity for him to show himself."

See also: The cycling calendar of 2020