Froome faces early challenge at Tour de France

  • Froome faces early challenge at Tour de France

Froome faces early challenge at Tour de France

BMC edged out Team Sky for victory in the stage three team time trial at the Tour de France but Chris Froome was able to wipe out numerous losses suffered in Saturday's chaotic opener.

Chris Froome's Team Sky came up four seconds short of BMC, as Greg Van Avermaet claimed the yellow jersey.

BMC was fighting for the stage win just four seconds ahead of British Sky.

Sagan would have been happy to hold on to it, but the yellow jersey isn't his priority for the Tour, and with the top 59 riders overall separated by just 16 seconds, it was going to take something special from Bora-Hansgrohe to keep him on top.

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

Movistar could only manage 10th place on the day, 50 seconds off Sky's pace, which meant Froome is nearly back on level terms with Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde while Nairo Quintana drops even further back after his opening day woes.

The world champion held off a strong challenge from Italian Sonny Colbrelli to clinch the stage and take the yellow jersey from Fernando Gaviria, who was one of the late crash victims.

Indeed, you only had to look at the scheduled start times to see just who among the favourites was in need of gaining back some time.

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.

"We rode a decent time trial and even if we still lost a lot of time I'm relieved", said Bardet.

Among the overall favorites, Dumoulin lies seventh (11 seconds behind), last year's runner-up Rigoberto Uran is 10th (:35), Porte 14th (:51), Movistar teammates Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa are 17th (:53), Froome 18th (:55), Adam Yates 20th (1:00) and 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali 22nd (1:06).

"I don't think it is a bad thing to have the yellow jersey for a team looking for a sponsor", said Porte, who crashed out of last year's Tour and lost time in Stage 1 of this edition.

"Revenge? I already forgot about past year", Sagan said. "It's still a long way to go, six more hectic days and the mountains".

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.

The Tour heads into the cycling hotbed of Brittany on Tuesday for Stage 4, a mostly flat 195-kilometer (121-mile) leg from La Baule to Sarzeau that starts and ends on the Atlantic coast.