Van Avermaet in yellow as BMC win team time trial

Doug Mendoza
July 12, 2018

"We've got some specialists in the team, I'm so happy we got this collective victory".

Overnight leader Fernando Gaviria came down in a mass high speed crash just 1.3km from the line, which Sagan and around 15 other riders avoided to set up a frantic finish.

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.

Bevin said it was a nervous wait watching Quick-Step Floors complete the course, but once they crossed seven seconds back in 38:53 he knew his team had won.

Gaviria was looking good for a second stage win until 2km to go, when a crash on a 90° right hand bend brought him down along with a number of other sprint favourites.

Another Briton Adam Yates was delayed by a fall and two of his Mitchelton Scott teammates were both also involved in separate falls. The Slovakian rider for Bora-Hansgrohe edged Sonny Colbrelli at the finish line after a short uphill push.

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.

Asked if his form was improving, he said: "Results wise no, but I felt better today".

"It's a great start for the fans", he added.

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The Sunweb man won the points race in Paris previous year largely due to the fact that two key rivals didn't make it that far. "But this is the biggest one in the world and you get to stand up there on the podium with your team-mates, and having a team-mate jump into the yellow jersey is another cool aspect", said Bevin, who is now the third New Zealand rider to triumph in team time trial at the Tour, following past successes from Julian Dean and Chris Jenner.

That left a small group of around 20 riders fighting for the win, including Sagan, Andre Greipel (Lotto-Soudal), John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) and Arnaud Demare (FDJ). "It was climbing a little bit in a headwind and already the last five kilometers were up and down".

We hear from Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe sports director Enrico Poitschke about the team's victory and from Marcel Kittel, who was third yesterday but also lost the chance to contest the sprint.

Alongside Froome and Tom Dumoulin Sagan is perhaps cycling's top star, and has won the green jersey five times.

"It was really a hard sprint, " Sagan said.

"We're happy, we had the yellow and that's part of history". "Our team is our strength", said Bardet. Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) +00:00 5.

The stage began in sizzling heat with local hero Sylvain Chavanel of the Direct Energie team based in this Vendee Western France region being cheered all along the 155km of a solo break. Tsgabu Grmay of Ethiopia also retired.

Few could have predicted the wild final run into Fontenay on Saturday which left four-time champion Froome, who fell into a ditch, and other favorites Richie Porte and Adam Yates trailing stage victor Fernando Gaviria in the overall standings by 1 min and 1 sec.

Other reports by GizPress

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