AG2R-La Mondiale hit the Alps - Gallery

Bardet and teammates go hiking and face off in cookery competition

Romain Bardet set the wheels of his 2017 season in motion this week as the AG2R-La Mondiale team gathered in the French Alps for their first camp of the off-season.

The Tour de France runner-up has been able to indulge his active streak, with cross country skiing, Nordic walking, swimming, and ice skating among the activities on offer for the riders in the small village of Vaujany, not far from Alpe d'Huez.

Despite the relatively early snowfall in the Alps, some riders managed to get out on their bikes – those with an early start to the season at the Tour Down Under – but the camp was an opportunity for the team and its 10 new signings to come together as one for the first time.

The team bonding exercise in question on the first night was dubbed 'Operation Top Chef' – a cooking competition in five teams of six organised by Michelin-starred chef Christophe Aribert. It was the international team of Gediminas Bagdonas, Sondre Holst Enger, Nico Denz, Mathias Frank, and Nans Peters who prevailed, putting a rather questionable looking plate of fish, rosti, and hollandaise in front of the judging panel.

A wine-tasting session followed, with the French riders all bringing a bottle of wine from their region.

Riders spent the day on Monday with the media, and on Tuesday set out on a two-and-a-half hour hike through the mountains, after which they were introduced to their new bike by Factor representatives for the first time.

The team's first proper training camp will take place in December in Gandia, Spain.

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