'Rapt' Richie Porte gets Tour campaign back on track

Chris Foome Tour de France 2018 Stage 1

American team BMC was the victor of the 35-mile team race in the third stage of the Tour de France.

BMC clocked 38 minutes 46 seconds as their Belgian rider Greg van Avermaet took the overall leader's yellow jersey, with Sky in second place four seconds behind.

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.

"They looked strong throughout, and were rewarded for their efforts with the fastest time, their time of 38'46" taking four precious seconds out of Sky with a ride averaging 54.9kmh.

"We're just ... trying to get through the best we can until we get to the mountains", Froome said.

"It's about what I expected, we thought we'd lose a bit to Froome and we lost a bit to Froome", said the dry-witted Quintana.

Among Froome's main rivals, France's Romain Bardet lost 1:15 today and now trails the Briton by 20 seconds.

The 35.5-kilometre Stage 4, which started and finished in Cholet, saw a reshuffling in the overall standings and gave a number of riders who had lost time due to crashes on the opening stage a chance to recoup time.

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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.

It was all about the team for Thomas, though, even if he missed out on the yellow jersey by three seconds.

Peter Sagan, who had won stage two and the right to wear the yellow jersey during stage three, was one of those who struggled as he asked his Bora-Hansgrohe team to relax the pace before eventually letting them go on ahead.

The 28-year-old Sagan said this win means that "I'm really back" following his disqualification from the 2017 Tour.

Among the big losers today were Nairo Quintana, whose Movistar team came home 53 seconds down on BMC Racing, Bahrain-Merida with 2014 Tour de France victor Vincenzo Nibali, 1 minute and 6 seconds down, and Romain Bardet's AG2R-La Mondiale, who came home 1 minute 15 seconds behind the day's victor.

"I think after what happened on the first stage, throwing 51 seconds away, it was good to take back time on some of the other GC guys".

Tuesday's fourth stage takes the riders from La Baule to Sarzeau over a largely flat 195km course.

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