Wednesday, 24 July, 2019

BMC beats Sky to win Tour de France team time trial

Fernando Gaviria wins the opening stage at the 2018 Tour de France Fernando Gaviria wins the opening stage at the 2018 Tour de France
Cary Erickson | 11 July, 2018, 01:37

Defending champion Chris Froome made up for some lost time at the Tour de France on Monday although Team Sky narrowly missed out on victory in the third stage, a 35.5-km team time trial won by American outfit BMC Racing.

BMC clocked 38min 46sec as their Belgian rider Greg van Avermaet took the overall leader's yellow jersey, with Sky in second place 4sec behind.

First off the ramp was the Mitchelton-Scott team of Adam Yates, then came Froome's Team Sky, followed by Quintana's Movistar then Richie Porte's BMC - a reflection of the time lost by the GC-chasing quartet on the opening stage.

The Slovak cyclist has a six-second lead ahead of Gaviria and is another four seconds ahead of Colbrelli in the general classification.

Of Porte's biggest rivals, Dutchman Tom Dumoulin is best-placed in third, 11 seconds behind Van Avermaet while Colombia's Rigoberto Uran and Denark's Jacob Fuglsgang are both 35 seconds down.

"Just going on the feeling, I think we can be pretty happy", Froome said.

BMC's Richie Porte is level with Froome with their respective teams looking to do well on the team time trial.

Froome's Sky team mate Geraint Thomas could however prove a thorn in his side as the Welshman, who underlined his credentials by winning the Criterium du Dauphine last month, is third overall, 52 seconds ahead of his leader.

"It's a ideal day, " Sagan said.

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Still, health officials were wary of possible infections "because we have never experienced this kind of issue from a deep cave". However the boys will remain in quarantine until doctors were sure they had not contracted any infections from inside the cave.

The world champion profited from a mass crash that also involved the victor of stage one, Colombian Fernando Gaviria and another favourite Michael Matthews, some two kilometres before the finish.

The overall leader after second stage, Peter Sagan, was dropped by his Bora-Hansgrohe teammates and fell to 80th overall and lost the yellow jersey.

Froome was left 55 seconds behind in the overall standings with another week of nervy rolling stages before hitting the Alps.

And though Sky missed out on victory - and a chance to put Geraint Thomas in the yellow jersey - Froome was able to eradicate the deficit to numerous other contenders. One day you gain, one day you lose.

Thomas, who wore yellow for four days a year ago, said that he was not bothered by the...

"I still regret throwing away those 51 seconds on the first day, but there's a long way to go to Paris".

Among the big losers today were Nairo Quintana, whose Movistar team came home 53 seconds down on BMC Racing, Bahrain-Merida with 2014 Tour de France victor Vincenzo Nibali, 1 minute and 6 seconds down, and Romain Bardet's AG2R-La Mondiale, who came home 1 minute 15 seconds behind the day's victor.

Tonight's fourth stage is a flat, 195km stage in Brittany between La Baule and Sarzeau that is expected to finish in a bunch sprint.