Olympic champion takes Tour de France yellow jersey in team time trial

BMC Racing won the team trial by four seconds

Chris Froome made up some lost time on his rivals despite Team Sky failing to win the team time trial on day three of the Tour de France.

Belgium's Van Avermaet was part of the BMC group that clocked 38 minutes 46 seconds on the 35.5km route in Cholet.

"So taking four seconds off Chris (Froome of Sky) is good and it looks like a minute off Romain Bardet at least", said the BMC leader.

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 today.

BMC, which is searching for a new title sponsor, also won the previous team time trial on the Tour in 2015.

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.

"We have the yellow jersey, we won a stage with the team ... and Richie can finish it off with a nice podium spot in Paris", Van Avermaet said.

"Obviously it was a tough one today but the big strong guys did a great job and it was a ideal team time trial", Porte told Cycling.com.

"In the meantime, Team Sunweb kept Tom Dumoulin at the business end of the overall standings with a ride of 38'58", conceding just 11 seconds to BMC.

It was also a very satisfying day for Froome, the Kenyan-born Briton ignoring some booing at the start line and making up some of the valuable time he lost on Saturday's first stage.

"One day you gain, one day you lose".

Among the overall favourites, Dumoulin was seventh (11 seconds behind), last year's runner-up Rigoberto Uran was 10th (:35), Porte was 14th (:51), Movistar teammates Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa were 17th (:53), Froome was 18th (:55), Adam Yates was 20th (1:00) and 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali was 22nd (1:06). "It's still a long way to go, six more hectic days and the mountains".

Thomas, who wore yellow for four days past year, said that he was not bothered by the...

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.

The International Cycling Union WorldTour race is due to continue tomorrow with a 195km stage from La Baule to Sarzeau.

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