BMC Racing won the stage three team time trial at the 2018 Tour de France as Greg van Avermaet claimed the yellow jersey and Richie Porte gained back time on most of his GC rivals.
BMC Racing were four seconds faster than Team Sky over the 35.5km course, with Mitchelton-Scott another five seconds back, as Chris Froome and Adam Yates also cancelled their early deficit after their crashes on stage one.
QuickStep Floors posted a late challenge to BMC Racing’s time, despite an early mishap as splits appeared in their formation, but they ultimately finished seven seconds short.
Peter Sagan, in the yellow jersey, suffered on the road and lost the wheels of his Bora-hansgrohe team-mates, meaning Van Avermaet now leads overall.
Due to the teams starting in team classification order, as opposed to GC order, Adam Yates and his Mitchelton-Scott team-mates were first down the ramp.
With Yates dancing up the climbs and the team’s patched-up powerhouses – such as Luke Durbridge, bandaged after his crash on stage two – putting down the power on the flats, the Australian team set the first benchmark of 38’55”.
Team Sky, another unusual early starter, were booed by roadside spectators throughout their effort but posted almost identical times through the first two time checks – as did BMC Racing, who also found themselves in an unfamiliar early start time.
"Sky gained on the final part of the course, stopping the clock in 38’50” but their clubhouse lead did not last long as BMC Racing dug deep on the run-in to shave another four seconds off"
Sky gained on the final part of the course, stopping the clock in 38’50” but their clubhouse lead did not last long as BMC Racing dug deep on the run-in to shave another four seconds off.
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.
Romain Bardet is now behind the two, meanwhile, as Ag2r-La Mondiale failed to break the 40-minute mark – team time trialling not being their forte.
Team EF-Drapac managed to cut their losses for Rigoberto Uran – their powerful TTT team stopping the clock in 39’21” – while Team Sunweb also ensured they lost very little over the potentially tricky parcours.
Tom Dumoulin led the way for Sunweb, putting in a big shift over the early climb and another onto the final run-in, before swinging off for Michael Matthews to lead them home 11 seconds in arrears to BMC Racing.
Stage three analysis
Three of the early starters were the big winners on stage three of the 2018 Tour de France, as BMC Racing won the stage – and the yellow jersey – and Richie Porte, Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) gained back time lost to their rivals on stages one and two.
Tom Dumoulin will be a happy man overnight too. Now seventh overall, he looked in great form as he put in some huge shifts for Team Sunweb. If his legs are good after the Giro d’Italia, we already know he can be a threat. Time will tell.
Vincenzo Nibali was another to have to put in a big shift for his team, and by extension his own GC hopes – with Bahrain-Merida down to four riders with a quarter of the 35.5km stage still to go. His efforts resulted in a time of 39’52”.
Tony Martin and Marcel Kittel’s presence could not inspire Katusha-Alpecin to a stage-winning time, meanwhile – like Movistar, Ag2r-La Mondiale and Bahrain-Merida, their time of 39’39” virtually cancelled out any advantage Ilnur Zakarin gained when his rivals lost time on stage one.
Greg van Avermaet was the virtual leader when Peter Sagan, in the yellow jersey, rolled down the ramp with Bora-hansgrohe and Fernando Gaviria set off with Quick-Step Floors.
The latter’s hopes of reclaiming the maillot jaune took an early hit, however, as he lost contact with the back of the Quick-Step train and the team split apart early in the stage.
Though they regrouped quickly, with Philippe Gilbert now their yellow jersey hope, they could not make back the time they lost as they finished third on the stage.
Tour de France 2018: stage three (TTT) – result
1) BMC Racing – 38.46
2) Team Sky +4”
3) Quick-Step Floors +7"
4) Mitchelton-Scott +9”
5) Team Sunweb +11”
6) EF-Drapac +35”
7) Bora-hansgrohe +50"
8) Astana +51”
9) Katusha-Alpecin +52”
10) Movistar +53”
1) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing – 9.08.55hrs
2) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing – ST
3) Geraint Thomas (GBR) – Team Sky +3”
4) Philippe Gilbert (BEL) – QuickStep Floors +5”
5) Bob Jungels (LUX) – QuickStep Floors +7”
6) Julian Alaphilippe (FRA) – QuickStep Floors – ST
7) Tom Dumoulin (NED) – Team Sunweb +11”
8) Soren Kragh Anderson (DEN) – Team Sunweb – ST
9) Michael Matthews (AUS) – Team Sunweb
10) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Bora-hansgrohe +34”