Is Dupont France's climber in the making?

By Jean-François Quénet The Ag2r rider present in the group of the maglia rosa towards the end of...

By Jean-François Quénet

The Ag2r rider present in the group of the maglia rosa towards the end of stage wasn't the expected Rinaldo Nocentini but young Frenchman Hubert Dupont who finished 18th together with Marco Pinotti.

"At the first (king of the) mountain prize, I was very badly positioned," Dupont said after the stage. "I had to put in a crazy effort to find my place again in the peloton. I didn't expect such a hard race so early in the stage."

One year after John Gadret (who is expected to be Ag2r's mountain sensation in the coming Tour de France) placed in the top ten in two hilly stages of the 2006 Giro, the 26 year-old Dupont, who started his career with RAGT two years ago, has pleased his team with his finish at Bergamo.

The rider from Lyon says his success on Saturday inspires him to make another attempt to do well in the mountains. "It was nice to be up there with the big guns of the Giro," Dupont said. "This race is my main goal of the year. I'm freed from riding for GC now (he's 27th with 23:15 deficit, ed.), so I'll try and catch another breakaway in the last week. I can only do it in the mountains; It suits me better than the flat stages where I get tired quickly."

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