Olympic champ Van Avermaet takes TdF yellow as BMC win team time trial

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Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet is the new Tour de France overall leader.

The Belgian rider was part of the eight-man BMC Racing Team winning the 35.5km team time trial on stage 3 around Cholet.

The Rio 2016 road race gold medallist is back wearing the leader’s yellow jersey for the first time in two years.

In 2016 he led the race for three days, following his win on stage 5.

Close Finish

The BMC Racing Team confirmed their reputation as one of the world’s leading team time trial specialists.

They crossed the finish line in 38’46” with a 54.9km/h average speed.

Team Sky was second trailing by 4 seconds.

Team Quick-Step Floors completed the podium after finishing 3 seconds later.

Another Day, Another Leader

After stage 3, Van Avermaet and Teejay Van Garderen share the same time in the general classification.

The 33-year-old classics specialist took the yellow jersey because he was better placed in the first two stages.

Team Sky’s Geraint Thomas is third at three seconds adrift.

After Peter Sagan and Fernando Gaviria (both dropped by their teams during the time trial), the leader’s jersey has now changed three times in as many days.

“It’s a big goal to get yellow in the first week. I wore it once before and was an incredible feeling to wear it. For a rider, it’s something special.” – Greg Van Avermaet

Where Are The General Classification Contenders Now?

2017 TTT world champions Team Sunweb finished 15 seconds behind BMC.

Their leader, 2017 Giro d’Italia winner Tom Dumoulin, is now seventh overall, 11 seconds from Van Avermaet.

Colombia’s Rigoberto Uran benefited from a solid performance of Team EF – Drapac Cannondale and he’s 35 seconds away.

Team Sky‘s four-time champion Chris Froome gained some ground on many of the other GC contenders and trails by 55 seconds.

The Bahrain-Merida Team lost over one minute and 2014 Tour de France winner Vincenzo Nibali has already 1’06” to make up for.

Movistar Team finished 53 seconds after BMC: Nairo Quintana is now 59th, 2’08” from the leader.

Here’s is how the top 10 looks after stage 3:

Next is the first of the three Breton stages: 195km from La Baule to Sarzeau, mostly on flat roads.

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Author: Alessandro Poggi
Italian-born reporter and multimedia editor. Former long distance runner, now tiramisu lover.