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"Three of our riders were in group just behind them but we didn’t manage to influence the race as we would have liked. It’s a World Tour race and we can see that the  team is at the good level and the best evidence is...

Photo: Sirotti








13.03.2014 @ 10:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

With several attacks from Carlos Betancur, Ag2r-La Mondiale tried to split things in yesterday's Paris-Nice but the Colombian lacked th power to finish it off. In the end, the team failed to gain time on their key rivals and were left disappointed with outcome of the stage.


When the going in Paris-Nice finally got tough on the Cote du Mont Brouilly in yesterday's Paris-Nice, Ag2r-La Mondiale proved that they are not afraid of mixing it up with the bigger teams in the WorldTour races. The French team tried to make things hard right from the beginning of the slopes, with Mikael Cherel and Alexis Vuillermoz stringing out the peloton.


The plan was to set up the team's two captains Carlos Betancur and Romain Bardet for attacks that would allow them to gain time on their main rivals. However, it wasn't to be for the French team as the captains failed to finish it off.


Bardet was on a bad day and struggled just to keep up with the best, bridging across to the first chase group on the descent with Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang. Betancur tried to split things twice with his attacks but lacked the power to stay away.


In the end, both riders finished in the chase group, 5 seconds behind stage winner Tom-Jelte Slagter. That group had been joined by the team's fast Samuel Dumoulin who sprinted to 10th and is now 5th on GC.


Manager Vincent Lavenu was disappointed with the outcome of the day.


"This morning we set up a strategy to force a decision on the Mont Brouilly," he said. "Our riders have tried but unfortunately it did not work. Then, It was expected that, either Carlos (Betancur) or Romain (Bardet) should attack. We would have preferred that Romain hit out first but he was not on a very good shape today. Carlos tried several times to attack but he failed open a gap and it was when he is was caught by the group that Slagter gave it a go. He was the strongest today and Geraint Thomas was the only one to be able to follow him.
"Three of our riders were in group just behind them but we didn’t manage to influence the race as we would have liked. It’s a World Tour race and we can see that the  team is at the good level and the best evidence is that we lead the overall teams classification. We nearly obtained a good result but there will be other opportunities. The riders are still focused on the race.”
You can read a preview of stage 5 here and follow our live coverage at 14.25 CET on



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