A sweltering day in Cholet delivered an intriguing team time trial. BMC won the battle of the big guns claiming victory by four seconds, negating Richie Porte‘s time loss and delivering the yellow jersey to Greg Van Avermaet for the second time in his career. Team Sky‘s second place moved Geraint Thomas up to third overall. Quick-Step Floors took third despite a crisis on the sharp climb that saw them in complete disarray.
Hands up if you thought today was going to be a tedious. As much as I LOVE a slick team time trial even my heart sank a little as the clock ticked down to the start of the stage. However, thanks in no small part to the time losses incurred by some GC contenders on stage one. Instead of half an eye on the stage and my head in my hands at the final result, we were presented with a fascinating battle well worth the watching and a Tour de France GC that is not looking all over before the Grand Depart is finished. HOORAY!!!!
Team of the Race
I have no hesitation in awarding this to the team in shocking pink – step forward (deep breath) EF Education First-Drapac powered by Cannondale.
EF Pinkies produced their best team time trial since the good old Garmin days, finishing sixth – only 35 seconds behind stage winners BMC. Their ride saw team leader Rigoberto Uran stealth-leap into tenth place on GC at +35secs. I bet no one saw that coming this morning. Post stage Taylor Phinney said:
We feel great about (the TTT), in the past we usually lose about a minute, minute and a half in the TTT. We worked really hard before this race and everybody was just committed. I went pretty deep – to lose 35 seconds, considering what happened on the first stage – we’re really happy with how today went.
There was a lot of concern for the injured Texan Lawson Craddock before the stage. Would he have to ride alone? Would he make the time cut? I’m thrilled to report that not only did he make the cut, he also took more than his fair share of the turns as the team cycled through their rotations, only dropping away with three kilometres to go. His comments after the trial are not for the squeamish.
I was in quite a bit of pain after the recon, even during the last 10 kilometers out on course. We really dug deep into my shoulder before the start of the race, and that made the biggest difference today. “It was still quite painful. I put 90 percent of my weight on my right forearm, right shoulder. We’ll need to work on that tonight now. I’m just really happy to be able to do something for the team today and hopefully take this as a good step moving forward.
Possibly too much information Mr Vaughters…
Which GC hopefuls are smiling at the team hotel tonight?
Apart from the EF Pinkies, the GC ride of the day came from Sunweb. With three riders who claimed the Words TTT title in their midst, they powered their way to fifth on the day propelling an impressive Tom Dumoulin to 7th overall. Any questions about the Dutchman’s form after his second place at Giro have been answered: at least as far as week one..
Richie Porte (BMC), Team Sky duo Thomas & Chris Froome and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) may not have made the gains on their rivals they were hoping, but will surely be breathing a huge sigh of relief that their time losses from stage one have been nullified. The AG2R team will be thankful for the buffer of around a minute Romain Bardet held going into today. They lost 1:15mins but Bardet stays in contention. Astana will also be smiles in the hotel tonight. Expected to lose a lot time after the loss of Luis Leon Sanchez yesterday, the turquoise brigade pulled off a creditable 8th place, keeping Jakob Fuglsang in the fight.
One of the Movistar trio of leaders has less to be happy about after a performance that left them 54 seconds adrift in 10th place. After two stages of #unluck, Nairo Quintana finds himself 2:08 mins down on the race leader and over a minute adrift from his teammate and other rivals.
Scores on doors after stage three, check out Tejay up there in second place.
Peter Sagan dropped!
The Velvet Samurai’s first first day in yellow didn’t quite go to plan when he was dropped from the BORA-hansgrohe train on the run to the line. The sight perplexed many on Twitter who could not remember ever witnessing such an occurrence.
He may not be in yellow, but the green jersey is back on his shoulders and there are plenty more stages for him to keep adding to his tally.
I am DELIGHTED to report that Team Sunweb’s Soren Kragh Anderson is now the best young rider at the Tour de France – on his Tour debut no less.
Full style marks for Wanty-Goupe Gobert’s Dion Smith for his King of the Mountain’s skinsuit. Loved the polka dots and red bib-shorts combo.
Image of the Day
Cofidis may not have set the Team Time Trial on fire (they finished plum last), but they win the Image of the day award for this cute capture.
1 BMC 38:46
2 Sky +0:04
3 Quick-Step Floors +0:07
4 Mitchelton-Scott +0:09
5 Sunweb +0:11
GC Top 10
1 Greg Van Avermaet BMC) 9:08:55
2 Tejay van Garderen (BMC) same time
3 Geraint Thomas Sky) +0.03
4 Philippe Gilbert (Quick-Step Floors) +0.05
5 Bob Jungels (Quick-Step Floors) +0.07
6 Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Floors) same time
7 Tom Dumoulin (Sunweb) +0:11
8 Soren Kragh Andersen (Sunweb) same time
9 Michael Matthews (Sunweb) s/t
10 Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First Drapac p/b Cannondale) +0:35
All the jerseys
Leader’s jersey: Greg Van Avermaet (BMC)
Points jersey: Peter Sagan (BORA-hansgrohe)
KOM jersey: Dion Smith (Wanty-Groupe gobert)
Best young rider:Soren Kragh Anderson (Sunweb)
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Header picture: ©GETTY/Velo/Tim de Waele