Bergerac - Romain Bardet said on Monday he was ready for a psychological and tactical battle to try to dethrone Chris Froome at the Tour de France.
The 26-year-old Frenchman impressed with his panache on Sunday's brutal, mountainous ninth stage, attacking on a fast and slippery descent before battling solo for almost 20km in a bid to win the stage and take some time out of Froome's lead.
That he didn't manage it was down to Froome teaming up with Rigoberto Uran, Fabio Aru and Jakob Fuglsang to chase down his closest challenger from last year's edition of the Grand Boucle.
Although Bardet gained no time on the yellow jersey, he moved up to third overall and, perhaps more importantly, proved he has the form and the guts to take on allcomers.
"For us it's a largely favourable situation, although yesterday we could have struck a big blow," said the AG2R team leader.
Bardet said he'd felt strong on Sunday and vowed to keep on attacking to try to dethrone the three-time champion Briton, particularly in the Alps, where he's at his most serene.
"I don't know if I can win it (the Tour), but every whichway I'm going to fight to do so," he said.
"I'll continue to be very attack minded."
Bardet said the mountain stages so far had shown that Froome cannot drop his rivals with a burst of acceleration as he has done in the past, notably his victories in 2013 and 2015.
"I've noticed that there are four or five climbers who are practically at the same level," added Bardet.
"Between us it will be a battle that is as psychological as it is tactical, and also about the ability of each person to absorb tough stages and a fast pace."