BMC time-trial win puts Van Avermaet in yellow

Rex Christensen
July 12, 2018

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas missed out on the yellow jersey by just three seconds, having started the day sixth in the general classification and one second up on Van Avermaet.

BMC Racing won the team time trial on day three of the Tour de France as Greg van Avermaet took the lead, and Chris Froome made up time on his main rivals.

"It's a ideal day, I was a bit scared because Sonny was coming back strong", said Sagan, who also wore the yellow jersey in 2016.

Other than a couple of fans holding up signs such as "Froome go home" on Saturday and Sunday, the festive Atlantic coast jaunt went well for Froome until 6km from home when he was forced off the road, escaping unhurt but losing around a minute to some key rivals.

Yates and Froome sit in 81st and 84th places respectively, 67 seconds off yellow but more concerned about the 51 second gap to the likes of Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Mikel Landa (Movistar). "I could see it was going to be a good year", said Sagan, who was thrown off the Tour last year after being judged culpable of a fall that ended fellow sprinter Mark Cavendish's Tour.

It was also a very satisfying day for Froome, the Kenyan-born Briton ignoring some booing at the start line and making up some of the valuable time he lost on Saturday's first stage.

"It was getting quite chaotic with the sprint teams but that's bike racing".

"The yellow jersey is one that everyone dreams of wearing and to get it on the first day is awesome", Gaviria said. "I'm just happy I can be in the Tour de France, the biggest race in the world".

"We're taking some time back on some of the other GC guys".

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Lawson Craddock, one of five Americans in the race, crashed in a feeding zone midway through the stage and continued with blood streaming down his face.

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The threatened crosswinds failed to materialise and the only thing to remotely bother Froome was the odd placard referencing the anti-doping investigation which the UCI closed on Monday.

Dan Martin wants to build on his sixth place in the 2017 Tour de France, but admits that the team time trial could make things more hard in 2018.

The Colombian added: "I don't know about keeping the yellow jersey because of the mountains, but I plan to fight for the green jersey (sprint points) all the way to Paris".

Sky are among a clutch of favourites to win Monday's stage, where they will hit around 50km/h over the slightly rolling course but will be easily identified. That would have been a nice bonus on top.

Had the team not lost so much in the team time trial, he perhaps could have won the race overall. "It just shows that we are here, too, and let's get it on". "We are masters in it and I'm happy to be part of it".

"A team time trial is always a something special when the whole team makes efforts for the same goal", Van Avermaet said.

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