Having lost 45 seconds due to a crash involving AG2R-La Mondiale teammate Alexis Vuillermoz in the finale of stage 2, Romain Bardet is shifting his focus from general classification to Criterium du Dauphine stage wins.
"We crashed 700 meters from the finish line. Alexis Vuillermoz falled [sic] and I couldn't avoid him. It's a pity because we achieved a good climb," said Bardet after he crossed the line in 51st place.
The Frenchman came into the race looking to fine tune his condition ahead of the Tour de France after a disappointing Tour de Romandie in which he finished 27th overall. Prior to the Swiss stage race, Bardet had finished second at Tour of Oman, sixth at both Volta Ciclista a Catalunya and Giro del Trentino, with ninth at Paris-Nice his lowest GC result.
The 25-year-old explained that as he now sits in 22nd place overall, 1:12 minutes down on Alberto Contador (Tinkoff), he will look for opportunities to take a stage win as he did last year with a daring descent on the Col d'Allos and then climb to Pra Loup.
"That's sport. I am disappointed because I did a great prologue and now the fight for the GC is over. I will change my goals and aim at a stage victory," Bardet said.
In 2016 Vuillermoz has had an injury and crash interrupted season with the Dauphine his first stage race since crashing out of Amstel Gold Race with cranial trauma.
"I am disappointed. Cyril Gautier was riding in front of me to prepare the final," Vuillermoz said of the accident. "There has been a wave on the left and he swerved. I touched his wheel and crashed. I get switches on the right hand and suffers from dermabrasion but nothing serious."
While Bardet was relatively unscathed physically, Vuillermoz suffered "dermabrasion of upper limbs, legs and back and from dorso lumbar contusion" and will requite stitches on his right hand according to a team statement.
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