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"The result is not good. In the last four years it’s been difficult for me in June when I have to get back into competition. I’ve never managed to obtain a good result in a time trial in this period," Peraud says

Photo: Sirotti










09.06.2014 @ 09:46 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Ag2r-La Mondiale headed into their home race, the Criterium du Dauphiné, with a two-pronged attack on the GC as both Romain Bardet and Jean-Christophe Peraud are aiming for a top 10. However, the team didn’t get their race off to the best start as Peraud performed way below expectations in the opening time trial while Bardet limited his losses reasonably in a discipline that has never been his favourite.

For many teams, the Criterium du Dauphiné is an important preparation race for the Tour de France but for Ag2r-La Mondiale, it is more than that. Hailing from the region where the race takes place, it is a crucial home event where it is important to perform.


The team has lined up two of its three Tour de France captains and Jean-Christophe Peraud and Romain Bardet are both gunning for the overall top 10. They are supported by Maxime Bouet who has just finished the Giro d’Italia and has come out of the race in solid condition.


Usually, Peraud should be able to gain time on most of his rivals in a time trial but the Frenchman had a very poor performance in yesterday’s opening stage, finishing 62nd and conceding 39 seconds to stage winner and defending champion Froome. The Frenchman admits that the result is not what he expected but keeps things into perspective as his main goal remains the Tour de France. 


"The result is not good,” he said. “In the last four years it’s been difficult for me in June when I have to get back into competition. I’ve never managed to obtain a good result in a time trial in this period.


“I remember that in 2011, the year I finished 9th overall in the Tour, I did it completely wrong in the time trial in Grenoble during the Dauphiné but in the end I got a great result in the following month. I think It’s a bit an obligatory step to be in a better shape and to perform well in the Tour de France.


“Then, this is only the first stage, there are still many mountain stages. We worked hard in the Alps with the team and this work should bear fruits this week. I think I will be more competitive in these stages than in this individual time trial that suited rouleurs.”


Unlike Peraud, Bardet set out with a mission to limit his losses and he did reasonably well by finishing 57th, losing 36 seconds to Froome. The Frenchman has just finished the Bayern Rundfahrt where he finished fourth in the queen stage but lost time in the time trial.


“This is my second individual time trial this season and I still lack some points of reference in this exercise that is not what I prefer,” he said. “My final rank is not so good but I’m satisfied with my time. Let’s say that I’m in a not so bad position in terms of time loss.


“Tomorrow another race begins. To get closer to the top 10 and the top 5 that are the team’s goals, we will have to attack to start to gain some places overall.”


The team’s best rider was Maxime Bouet who is just coming out of the Giro and made it into 28th, 22 seconds behind Froome. The Frenchman started the Italian grand tour a bit shy of his best form as he was coming back from injury and was later hampered by a crash. He now hopes to have put his health issues behind and to shine in his home race.


“It was a pretty tough individual time trial with a difficult climb, a technical descent and headwind to the finish,” he said. “I’m satisfied with my result even if in hindsight you always think that you could have been able to gain more seconds here and there.


“I felt good from the first kilometres and I controlled it well throughout the chrono. Behind, Vincent (Lavenu) guided me perfectly in the turns and I’d checked out the route this morning.


“I’m especially pleased that I have recovered quickly after the Giro d’Italia. I spent quite a studious week with rest and training periods. I was afraid to be a bit tired but with my coach we managed this week well. It’s also a pleasure to have good feelings because it’s been over a year that I have not been in such a shape in a time trial. I hope that the problems are now over.


“Today, except for Froome who is above everyone else, the time differences between riders are not important. In my opinion, in this Dauphiné there will be Froome for the leadership and around ten riders who will aim at the other places overall.


“Now we have to be intelligent, both with Romain (Bardet) and Jean-Christophe (Péraud), and maybe blow the race because the overall standings could be decided only by seconds.”



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