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Cavendish, Uran and Bardet star at the Tour de l’Ain

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Romain Bardet (Ag2r)

Romain Bardet (Ag2r)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Romain Bardet (Ag2r) tried to claw back time on the top three today

Romain Bardet (Ag2r) tried to claw back time on the top three today
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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ean-Christophe Péraud (Ag2r)

ean-Christophe Péraud (Ag2r)
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Smiles and hugs for Omega Pharma-Quick Step after Mark Cavendish wins stage 5

Smiles and hugs for Omega Pharma-Quick Step after Mark Cavendish wins stage 5
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Rigoberto Uran in second makes it another Colombian on the podium at the Giro d'Italia

Rigoberto Uran in second makes it another Colombian on the podium at the Giro d'Italia
(Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

The Tour de l'Ain is set to attract more attention than usual when the 26th edition of the five-day stage race kicks off with a 4.6km prologue time trial in the Jura town of St Amour on Tuesday evening.

Cavendish did not ride the Ride London Classic on Sunday, opting to stay in Tuscany to prepare for his return to racing.

"The Tour de l'Ain will be important to see where I am at with my training and recovery from my injury, and also as a bit of a test at competition pace," Cavendish said in a statement from the Belgian team. "The rest of my program will be decided 100 percent after Tour de l'Ain depending on how I feel during that race. Together with the team we will then discuss how to approach the rest of my season."

"I did some efforts on Monday morning in order to get my heart rate up with a view to the prologue," the Ag2r-La Mondiale climber told L'Équipe adding: "You've got to make a lot of efforts with all of the accelerations on those small circuits. So in terms of power output, I've seen things that I wouldn't have been able to do in training."

"The selector Bernard Bourreau has told me to prepare for it. The course, which doesn't have a lot of flat on it at all, really inspires me," Peraud told L'Équipe.