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

10 July, 2018, 11:51 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
  • This July 4 crash resulted in both Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan exiting the Tour de France

A year after being kicked out of the Tour de France, world champion Peter Sagan was back with a bang as he claimed victory in the second stage to take the overall leader's yellow jersey on Sunday.

BMC edged out Team Sky for victory in the stage three team time trial at the Tour de France but Chris Froome was able to wipe out numerous losses suffered in Saturday's chaotic opener.

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.

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.

Spain's Luis Leon Sanchez, who has four Tour stage wins to his name, pulled out after he sustained a possible shoulder injury in a crash 37km from the finish.

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.

Froome's Sky team mate Geraint Thomas could however prove a thorn in his side as the Welshman, who underlined his credentials by winning the Criterium du Dauphine last month, is third overall, 52 seconds ahead of his leader.

Van Avermaet, a Belgian who excels at single-day classics and won the Rio Olympic road race, isn't a threat for the overall title but he could keep the lead through the cobblestoned Stage 9 ending in Roubaix.

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"I'm only some 20 seconds behind Froome so it's not that much". It would have been nice not to have lost it in the first place.

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.

"One day you gain, one day you lose. That's just the nature of the game".

Times were taken from the fourth rider on each eight-man team to cross the line. "I'm very happy with the other riders".

"Today, we just handled business", said Van Garderen, who has twice finished in the top five at the Tour but is riding this edition in a declared supporting role for Porte. "It just shows that we are here, too, and let's get it on".

Crosswinds permitting, the first wearer of the yellow jersey should be decided in a mass sprint. As I've said from the start, the legs are good.

The only individual time trial of the race comes in the penultimate stage, over a 31-kilometer route from Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle to Espelette in the Basque country.

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