BMC time-trial win puts Van Avermaet in yellow

Annette Crawford
July 12, 2018

While Sky's top placed rider is Geraint Thomas three seconds off the lead, 2017 Giro victor Dumoulin is just 11 seconds down, but perhaps Bardet is the man with the most to smile about at this stage.

Team Sky (38:50) were second fastest to help four-time victor Froome climb the standings, with Quick-Step Floors another three seconds adrift in third.

Chavanel, who has said this will be his last Tour, soaked up applause from French fans on his solo run, and he even had time to raise his arms in celebration as he passed through the crowds that lined the road midway through the stage.

Attention then turned to their rivals, with the biggest early losers including Movistar - who lost 53 seconds to BMC Racing and 49 to Team Sky, virtually cancelling out the time lost by Richie Porte and Chris Froome after the crashes that marred the stage one finale.

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

"We knew the first days were going to be tricky, what happened is part of the game", said the 33-year-old who had a skinned knee and some possible bruising on his right shoulder after his head over heels fall.

Overall, Froome is in 18th place, 55 seconds off the pace and still 44 behind 2017 Giro d'Italia victor Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, who with Team Sunweb only lost seven seconds to the Briton on Monday.

At his post-race media conference, Gaviria added: "It's been an awesome day, I've dreamt of this victory and the possibility of taking the yellow jersey".

"You have to focus, we are aiming at getting ideal execution", he said.


Van Avermaet's teammate Tejay van Garderen finished on the same time to take second place overall with Sky's Geraint Thomas third.

"The yellow jersey is one that everyone dreams of wearing and to get it on the first day is unbelievable", Gaviria said.

"I just said to myself "go" and had the legs luckily", Gaviria said.

Team Sky's Froome, his fellow riders and the organizers are all reeling from the tempestuous run-up to the Tour, which culminated Thursday with the four-time victor being roundly booed at the official presentation.

"Obviously the [Tour] didn't start too well with the crash on stage one but that's bike racing".

The pressure has unquestionably risen on Froome and Team Sky in spite of anti-doping authorities ending their investigation into this salbutamol levels, but he is adamant that he is able to put the pressure to the side and focus on the task at hand.

"They were the second to last team and they had a great ride".

"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. Smith was focussed on winning the climber's polka dot jersey, and once he had secured that after the only classified climb came early in the stage, he was called back to the bunch to help his team. That would have been a nice bonus on top. "Close but not quite quick enough".

Britain's Mark Cavendish, who has 30 stage wins, said it was the hardest Tour de France route he'd ever seen and doubted he'd make it to the mountains. The Kenyan-born British rider also crashed on the opening day of the Giro d'Italia in May, while warming up for the Stage 1 time trial.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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