Froome booed as BMC edge Sky in team time-trial

Peter Sagan is happy to be back at the Tour after being kicked out early in 2017

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

But the two key mountain challenges are a brutal, uphill 31km individual time trial and a short, sharp shock of a 17th stage with just 65km, featuring 25km of hair-raising descents and 38km of climbs to a summit finish at the Col de Portet in the southwest.

Defending champion Chris Froome, who lost 51 seconds to some of his main rivals after crashing on Saturday, had an uneventful day on the bike and finished safely in the peloton.

On a sunny Saturday early in the school holidays, enormous crowds of fans packed the seaside towns along the Atlantic coast in a highly festive atmosphere where any expected fall out from the Froome booing on Thursday was muted, with AFP seeing just two signs along the roadside targeting him with messages of "Froome go home" and "Froome the doper".

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.

Froome, fellow Briton Adam Yates and Australian Richie Porte, all pre-Tour favourites, all lost valuable seconds having been caught in a series of falls and flat tyres over the final 10km of the 201km opening stage. But as I say, that's bike racing. They were only seven seconds back and on a similar trajectory to us so you do have to wait.

"The yellow jersey is one that everyone dreams of wearing and to get it on the first day is incredible", Gaviria said.


"I don't think it is a bad thing to have the yellow jersey for a team looking for a sponsor", said Porte, who crashed out of last year's Tour and lost time in Stage 1 of this edition.

A year ago, Sagan was kicked out of the Tour after race organizers ruled he caused a crash that broke the shoulder blade of Mark Cavendish in a sprint finish to end Stage 4.

"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 final run-in to shave another four seconds off.

"Fernando won yesterday and now I'm the one with the yellow jersey", it's been exciting.

The Tour informed Froome he wasn't welcome until the UCI announced on Monday that Froome's result did not represent an adverse finding on advice from the World Anti-Doping Agency. "I'm just grateful I'm not injured in any way and there is still a lot of road to follow before we get to Paris". "It was all about trying to win the stage".

Had the team not lost so much in the team time trial, he perhaps could have won the race overall.

"A team time trial is always a something special when the whole team makes efforts for the same goal", Van Avermaet said. We all want to be successful here.

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