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"At some stage, I've believed I could take the yellow jersey as I believed that Team Sky would let it go to give the domestiques a bit of a rest for a day or two, but they didn't… Maybe I've believed too much,"...

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CRITERIUM DU DAUPHINE

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MAXIME BOUET

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ROMAIN BARDET

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11.06.2014 @ 19:28 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Sitting just 2.43 behind Chris Froome in the overall standings, Maxime Bouet was long the virtual leader of the Criterium du Dauphiné in today's fourth stage of the race. At some point he believed that Sky would let him take the jersey but in the end he came awat empty-handed as the stage win also escaped him.

 

Maxime Bouet is coming out of the Giro d'Italia with some good condition and today he again put in on show when he animated the fourth stage of the Criterium du Dauphiné. The strong Frenchman made it into the decisive 13-rider breakaway and as he was the best-placed on GC, he was the virtual leader for much of the stage.

 

With Sky getting no help in their quest to control the race, Bouet believed that the British team would be glad to relinquish their hold on the leader's jersey for a few days and in fact Chris Froome has later confirmed that the team actually planned to do so. In the end, however, the many attacks forced them to go a bit faster and so Bouet missed out on a stint in the overall lead.

 

Instead, Bouet had to focus on the stage win but he was unable to follow Yury Trofimov when he made the decisive move. Despite moving into seventh on GC, he left the stage with a feeling of disappointment.

 

“This morning, our goal was to have a rider in case of a five or six man breakaway and two if more than fifteen riders formed the front group," he said. "Since we've struggled at col du Béal, our objective has become to win a stage. We come closer but I'm very disappointed. The legs have made the difference in the col de Manse.

 

“From the start this morning I have felt that this stage could suit me and of course I’m a bit disappointed this evening," he said. "The best rider won today because Trofimov was really the strongest on the col de Manse.

 

"When he rode away on his own, I've tried to handle the situation but I realized that the stage was lost. I still tried to finish second. I'm pretty fast but I didn't race well. Everyone was on my wheel. I know I have qualities to sprint well and I should have tried to catch the riders ahead of me in the last kilometer but I missed the opportunity. 

 

"At some stage, I've believed I could take the yellow jersey as I believed that Team Sky would let it go to give the domestiques a bit of a rest for a day or two, but they didn't… Maybe I've believed too much…”

 

"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 to it. I have been so close to this elusive victory for a long time and I failed again, it’s frustrating. For a year and a half I have had many problems because of injuries and I’m happy to finish at the front of the race for my family and my friends who support me.”

 

While Bouet was up the road, his team captain Romain Bardet went on the attack in a quest to take back some lost time. The Frenchman joined forces with Tejay van Garderen and Ryder Hesjedal and ended up taking back 39 seconds.

 

“We thought that there will be a fight on the col de Manse but there was not much," he said. "When I saw that there was not much fighting in the bunch I thought: why not try? Maxime (Bouet) was in front but at this time he was no longer able to compete for the stage win or the leader's jersey and an attack would not change the team’s plans.

 

"I asked the guys to launch me in order to try to win time overall because I’m pretty good in descents and I wanted to use this route that was quite lumpy.

 

"I won a few seconds thanks to these efforts and it’s not bad. It is not much in light of what is expected this weekend, but it’s still better than nothing. Instages races, I often finish stronger than when I start the race, but the hard part is still to come."

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