Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Time-Trial Team Effort Puts Froome Firmly Back in Mix; TOUR DE FRANCE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Time-Trial Team Effort Puts Froome Firmly Back in Mix; TOUR DE FRANCE

Article excerpt

GREG Van Avermaet beat Geraint Thomas to the yellow jersey, but Team Sky used yesterday's team time trial at the Tour de France to eradicate many of the losses Chris Froome suffered on the opening day.

What had once been viewed as an opportunity to make time had become a chance to gain it back after Froome's excursion into a field on Saturday cost him 51 seconds on his main rivals.

And though Van Avermaet's BMC squad pipped Sky to victory by four seconds - denying Thomas yellow by just three seconds - Sky did enough to put four-time winner Froome firmly back in the general classification mix.

BMC completed the 35.5km circuit around Cholet in a time of 38 minutes 46 seconds, four ahead of Sky, seven up on Quick-Step Floors and nine ahead of Adam Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team.

With Froome, Yates and BMC's Richie Porte three of the four big losers among the general classification riders on Saturday, this stage did much to level the playing field.

"Just going on the feeling, I think we can be pretty happy," Froome said. "We gave it everything we had and it all went pretty much to plan. You can never tell who is going to be on a good day or not, but all in all it worked out well for us.

"Obviously the (Tour) didn't start too well with the crash on stage one but that's bike racing. We'll take it day by day.

"It's reassuring to take back some time. It would have been nice not to have lost it in the first place. But as I say, that's bike racing. I think there will be a lot more time lost throughout the GC group before we hit the mountains.

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

Tom Dumoulin was about the only general classification rival not to concede significant time to BMC and Sky, with his Team Sunweb team finishing fifth, 11 seconds down.

After that, the gaps became more significant. Rigoberto Uran's EF Education First-Drapac team gave up 35 seconds in fifth, Mikel Landa and Nairo Quintana's Movistar 54 seconds in 10th, and Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida team 66 seconds in 11th.

Romain Bardet's AG2R La Mondiale were 12th, 75 seconds down, while Dan Martin's UAE Team Emirates team were down in 15th, 1:39 off the pace after key man Oliviero Troia suffered an early puncture. …

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