When Romain Bardet and his AG2R La Mondiale team crossed the line in the team time trial on stage 3 of the Critérium du Dauphiné the Frenchman's demeanour said it all. He and his team had been well beaten, losing a minute to winners BMC, and losing what seemed at the time as any realistic hope of Bardet finishing on the podium. Shoulders hunched, eyes down, the Frenchman talked bravely about aiming for a stage win, his overall ambitions finished.
However, the Dauphiné has a knack of breathing life into vanquished challengers and turning the race on its head at any given moment, and on stage 5 from Digne-les-Bains it was Bardet's time to shine with a stage-winning performance that moved him up to third overall, 20 seconds down on the yellow jersey of Tejay van Garderen (BMC).
The stage route, which will be replicated at the Tour de France next month, took on the Col d'Allos, which featured as the penultimate climb before the final ascent to Pra Loup.
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