Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

Froome faces early challenge from BMC team at Tour de France

Froome faces early challenge from BMC team at Tour de France

BMC Racing claimed team time trials honours on the third stage of the Tour de France to put Greg Van Avermaet into the yellow jersey.

BMC Racing finished the 35-kilometer stage three in 38 minutes and 46 seconds.

He will have an opportunity to make up for it in Monday's team time trial in Cholet, although he was expected to gain ground on his rivals in the collective effort against the clock, not just cancel out lost time.

Team Sky finished as runners-up, four seconds behind.

World champion Sunweb featuring Tom Dumoulin finished fifth, 11 seconds back.

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.

Team time trials test the both the strength and emotional harmony of a team, with the rules structured to prevent the strongest riders making a solo charge and forcing each squad to make hard decisions over whether to leave team-mates behind, and there were indications of splits and frustrations in several groups.

Porte leapt up the overall standings to 14th spot, 51 seconds behind Van Avermaet and American teammate Tejay van Garderen, who has the same time as the Belgian.

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

"There will be a lot more time lost throughout the GC group before we hit the mountains".

Australian Richie Porte, who had also lost 51 seconds in the first stage after being delayed behind a pile-up, benefited from his BMC team's performance to move up to 14th, four seconds ahead of Froome.

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.

The main favourites for the Tour de France Christopher froome after three rounds loses the interim leader 55 seconds.

Sagan, the three-time reigning world champion, came up short in the opening stage's sprint when he crossed second behind victor Fernando Gaviria.

Movistar lost 53 seconds, which leaves Colombian Nairo Quintana, twice runner-up, 1:13 behind Froome - a massive amount of time after only three days of racing.

"This makes up for a year ago", he said.

A year after leaving the Tour de France in disgrace, Peter Sagan earned the race's yellow jersey on Sunday after doing what he does best: Powering past the competition to reach the finish line.

Tuesday's fourth stage takes the riders from La Baule to Sarzeau over a largely flat 195km course.

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