Bardet looking to bounce back in Dauphiné mountains

Ag2r-La Mondiale concede one minute to BMC in TTT

Romain Bardet and his Ag2r-La Mondiale team were left licking their wounds after stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné, having conceded a minute in the race's team time trial.

Ag2r-La Mondiale could only manage 13th on the stage behind winner's BMC Racing, leaving Bardet – fifth here last year and sixth overall at the Tour de France - in 51st place overall.

"It wasn't as good as expected and we wanted more," the 24-year-old told journalists after crossing the line.

"We expect more from the next few days in the mountains. We've lost a lot of time to our rivals including BMC but we have to deal with that if we want to do good overall classification."

With a team time trial in this year's Tour de France, Bardet and his teammates will be well aware that improvements will be needed but the Frenchman can at least rely on his climbing prowess to move him towards a higher overall position in this race. The mountains stages are still to come, starting with a finish at Pra Loup on Thursday's stage five.

At the finishline Bardet chose to focus on the stages that still lie ahead in this year's race, and even drew on inspiration from Andrew Talansky who won the overall at the Dauphine last year after a dramatic final stage in the mountains.

"We're a bit comprised and the gap is more than a minute, which is a lot for a race of just one week. We don't know but last year we had a crazy last stage when Talansky won the race. We'll see how the next few days go," he said.

Bardet has enjoyed a slow but steady build-up to this year's Tour de France. He's yet to win a race this calendar year but has finished in the top ten at the Ruta del Sol, Giro del Trentino and Tour de Romandie, which included a top three place in a major mountain stage. Despite the setback in the team time trial, the Frenchman is heading in the right direction when it comes to his own form.

"My legs are turning better each day and we'll see what they say on the climbs." 

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