Van Avermaet beats Thomas to yellow jersey as Froome recovers lost time

  • Van Avermaet beats Thomas to yellow jersey as Froome recovers lost time

Van Avermaet beats Thomas to yellow jersey as Froome recovers lost time

BMC, which is searching for a new title sponsor, also won the previous team time trial on the Tour in 2015.

Greg Van Avermaet beat Geraint Thomas to the yellow jersey but Team Sky used Monday's team time trial at the Tour de France to eradicate numerous losses Chris Froome suffered on the opening day.

With Froome, Yates and BMC's Richie Porte three of the four big losers among the general classification riders on Saturday, this stage did much to level the playing field.

"There's a photo of the team on the podium with Greg in yellow and I think it's one I will cherish for a long time".

It also put American teammate Tejay van Garderen in second place at the same time.

"The only thing I can really understand from it was that Chris didn't even go to the adverse analytical finding, it didn't even get to that stage, he was asked to explain himself which he got given due process to do and he was cleared by the people that run the sport and doping agency and that's all we really know".

Despite the setback, Quick-Step were able to regroup and only lost a further three seconds on BMC heading through the second checkpoint and finished a total of seven behind them in third place. "We're on track but there's still so much to go through".

The latter's hopes of reclaiming the maillot jaune took an early hit, however, as he lost contact with the back of the Quick-Step train and the team split apart early in the stage.

"It's amusing because at the end of the day it's just another bike race".

"I'll be wearing the yellow jersey probably for only one day, but I'm happy for that".

The Slovakian rider's ninth career win at the Tour came just over a year since he was disqualified from cycling's most prestigious event by race officials who ruled he had caused a crash that broke Mark Cavendish's shoulder. "That's the nature of the game".

Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida squad were 11th on the day, giving up 62 seconds to Team Sky, while Romain Bardet's AG2R La Mondiale team finished 12th, 71 seconds back.

"We rode out of our skin and super smooth and with the horsepower that we have did a great ride", the Irishman said.

Dutchman Dumoulin was more than happy with the way the third stage panned out after moving up to seventh in the early GC standings, just 11 seconds back from the new leader.

"I feel maybe even better (than last year)", Porte said. We've been close in the past in Tour team time trials.

For Porte, the stage win took on special significance as it marked a year since he crashed out of last year's Tour on the decent into Chambery on the ninth stage.

Overnight leader Fernando Gaviria came down in a mass high speed crash just 1.3km from the line, which Sagan and around 15 other riders avoided to set up a frantic finish.