Aru attacked over the final ascent on stage 3 and held off the sprinters’ teams to take a highly impressive win. He picked up two seconds on the line, as well as a ten-second bonus for winning the stage, but remains 1:15 down on race leader Alberto Contador (Tinkoff) and in 27th place. The Italian lost time in the opening prologue and on stage 2, and has stated he is not here to compete for the GC but his ride on stage 3 demonstrated that he is far from being just a passenger in this race.
“I think for the GC he’s not a threat right now,” Landa told Cyclingnews at the finish of stage 3.
The Dauphine is Aru’s first race since abandoning Amstel Gold Race in April and the Vuelta a España winner spent 23 days training at altitude before arriving at the Dauphine.
“He’s a rider who needs a few days of competition before he gets better,” said Landa.
“At the moment I think he’s not a GC threat but we will have to see. There are a lot of good riders here, Contador and Richie Porte. I’m getting better day by day.”
Landa has recovered well since abandoning the Giro d’Italia in May. He put in a respectable time in the opening prologue and has attacked twice in the last two road stages. He is hoping to use the Dauphine to prove his form and cement his place in Team Sky’s Tour de France selection.
“It might look easy out there but that was a hard day,” he said of stage 3. “There were some strong riders in the break so the peloton had to ride really hard to catch them. It wasn’t the easiest stage.
“At the last part some riders were trying to move away and I thought that it looked important so I tried to be there.”
Stage 4 of the Dauphine from Tain-l'Hermitage to Belley suits the sprinters and should see the GC contenders have a relatively relaxed day before the race enters the mountains.