Froome faces early challenge from BMC team at Tour de France

Annette Crawford
July 11, 2018

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

Porte has moved up to 14th, 51 seconds off the lead and four seconds ahead of defending champion Chris Froome who rose to 18th.

The next team to cross the finish line was Team Sky, who stopped the clock at 38 minutes and 50 seconds, five seconds faster than the Australian team.

Third place went to the Quick-Step Floors team, seven seconds behind Sky. "I'm just happy I can be in the Tour de France, the biggest race in the world".

Team Sky had laid down the gauntlet with a strong effort, but having recorded an identical time over the first 13 kilometres, BMC were six seconds ahead as they passed through the second checkpoint.

"It's about what I expected, we thought we'd lose a bit to Froome and we lost a bit to Froome", said the dry-witted Quintana.

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.

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. Van Avermaet, who has Olympic road race gold and a Paris-Roubaix victory on his CV, and is named after the legendary Greg LeMond, wore the yellow jersey for three days during the 2016 edition and although he is unlikely to mount a challenge in the long-term, the make-up of the coming days offers him the chance to stay in yellow.

BMC, which was planning to win back some time for Richie Porte, was the next team to set the best time.

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

The 28-year-old Sagan said this win means that "I'm really back" following his disqualification from the 2017 Tour.

There was no surprises for Movistar's Quintana, who lost another chunk of time to Froome, to whom he came second on the Tour twice.

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

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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