Tour de France: Chris Froome gains on rivals as jeering fades

Paola Ditto
Luglio 12, 2018

Stage victor Slovakia's Peter Sagan, wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey, celebrates on the podium after the second stage of the Tour de France.

BMC Racing Team claimed Stage 3 of the 2018 Tour de France on Monday as they set the fastest time in the team time trial.

The eight Sky riders will race the 35.5 kilometres (22 miles) of Monday's team time-trial alone, as each group embarks at two minute intervals.

However, the day belonged to a 23-year-old from La Ceja, Gaviria adding Tour stage victor to the Points Classification he won at the 2017 Giro d'Italia.

The defending champion had lost 51secs to some of his main rivals following a crash in the opening stage, but the collective effort against the clock around Cholet put him back in contention.

Froome was the next to go, touching shoulders with Katusha-Alpecin's Rick Zabel and being sent hurtling into a field.

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).

He told ITV4: "We did an awesome job, the boys were fantastic and previous year at the team time trial at the Worlds no one suited up as the strongest and there was not much difference between everyone again today and that's exactly what you want".

"It was getting quite chaotic with the sprint teams but that's bike racing. Make sure all the guys are right, forget the race and live the moment", he said of how they tackled the challenge.

The four time victor of the yellow jersey was hoping for a quiet start to his Tour but it wasn't to be as he took a tumble on the run-in, and ended up losing a considerable chunk of time to the majority of of his general classification rivals. It would have been nice not to have thrown 51 seconds away on the first day. "To win the stage with a team like we have here, and especially with the passing of Andy Rihs, is special", Porte said.

After Froome was waved off at the start in Noirmoutier-en-l'Ile by Eddy Merckx - one of the four men with five Tour titles to his name alongside Bernard Hinault, Jacques Anquetil and Miguel Indurain - the peloton enjoyed a fairly sedate ride through the Vendee, at least for 190km.

Froome has been cleared of any wrongdoing after testing positive for excessive levels of the anti-asthma drug Salbutamol, but the locals have been jeering and whistling the four-times champion since the teams' presentation on Thursday. "If they could just go as long as they could and if they didn't feel great then just commit anyway, and that's what they did". 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. We all want to be successful here. We've been close in the past in Tour team time trials. "We are masters in it and I'm happy to be part of it".

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