Ag2r-La Mondiale come close to stage win and Dauphiné's yellow jersey

Having seen breakaway companion Yuri Trofimov (Katusha) take the spoils into Gap on the Critérium du Dauphiné's fourth stage, Maxime Bouet (Ag2r-La Mondiale) also missed the opportunity to relieve Chris Froome's shoulders from the yellow jersey.

After the stage, Froome told reporters that; "It was our intention to let the yellow jersey go and another team take it before the weekend of racing but in the end, the race was just so fast that we reached the finishing line quickly after the breakaway riders."

Starting the day 2:43 minutes behind Froome on GC, Bouet was the virtual leader on the road for the majority of the stage having made his way into the breakaway but ended the day with only a minor improvement on his overall placing after the peloton decided to make an unsuccessful late catch.

"From the start this morning I have felt that this stage could suit me and of course I'm a bit disappointed this evening," Bouet said after finishing sixth. "The best rider won today because Trofimov was really the strongest in the col de Manse. I could have been able to get the second place but I'm not satisfied with the way I rode in the final.

With a different race schedule in 2014 that sees him miss the Tour de France for the first time in five years, Bouet had targeted stage four with the hope of his first win since last year's Giro del Trentino.

"Of course, I'm well positioned overall tonight and it's a great satisfaction but the goal today was the stage win and I felt I was very close of it," Bouet explained. "I was targeting this victory for a long time and I failed again, it's frustrating.

"It's been a year and a half that I have many problems because of injuries and I'm happy to finish at the front race for my family and my friends who support me."

With the peloton attempting to reel in the breakaway, Bouet's teammate Romain Bardet saw an opportunity to also gain time and move up the GC and did so by finishing 30 seconds ahead of the main bunch in 14th place.

"Maxime was at the front but at this time he was no longer able to compete for the stage win or the leader jersey and an attack would not have changed the team's plans," Bardet said.

"I asked the guys if they were able to launch me in order to try to win time overall because I'm pretty good in descents.I won a few seconds overall thanks to these efforts and it's not bad.

"This is not much in the light of what is expected this weekend, but it's still better than nothing."

With several testing stages still to come, Bardet is confident that he will continue to improve his overall position before the race concludes on Sunday in Courchevel.

"In stages races, I often finish stronger than when I start the race, but the hard part remains to be done."

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