The Associated PressCHOLET, France (AP) — Besides still having to make up most of the 51 seconds he lost in a Stage 1 crash, Chris Froome faces another challenge as he seeks a record-tying fifth Tour de France title — Richie Porte’s BMC team.
BMC beat Froome’s Team Sky by 4 seconds on Monday to win a team time trial in Stage 3, with Belgian rider Greg Van Avermaet taking the yellow jersey.
“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. “Everyone is working well together and we have a strong team and Richie can be up there.”
Riding at an average speed of 54.9 kph, BMC clocked 38 minutes, 46 seconds over the 35.5-kilometer route that began and ended in Cholet near the Atlantic coast.
Sky finished second and Quick-Step Floors came third, 7 seconds behind. World champion Sunweb featuring Tom Dumoulin finished fifth, 11 seconds back.
Overnight leader Peter Sagan was dropped by his Bora Hansgrohe teammates and fell to 80th overall, three minutes behind.
Van Avermaet, who excels at single-day classics, isn’t a threat for the overall title but he could keep the lead through the cobblestoned Stage 9 ending in Roubaix.
Froome was left 55 seconds behind in the overall standings with another week of nervy rolling stages before hitting the Alps.