Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Tour de France 2018: stage three

Tour de France 2018: stage three

"If you had told me at the start that I would be only 40 seconds off Froome after the team time trial I would have been pretty happy".

The red-and-white checkered cloths were created following Theodore Botrel's song first performed in April 1900, "Le mouchoir rouge de Cholet".

Cholet: "I'm rapt as dunny paper with that one, it was a super ride by the boys", said a justifiably elated Richie Porte after the Australian and his teammates got his Tour de France campaign back on track with an impressive stage three team time trial win on Monday.

He told ITV4: "We did an awesome job, the boys were incredible and past year at the team time trial at the Worlds no one suited up as the strongest and there was not much difference between everyone again today and that's exactly what you want".

Demare was first to go for the sprint, but Sagan latched onto his wheel and came round him to take the win ahead of Bahrain-Merida's Sonny Colbrelli, with Demare in third place.

"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.

Boulder's Taylor Phinney, on the other hand, finished 19 in the stage, just a second behind Froome. "I love France and the Tour, which is the most attractive race on the planet".

"Team EF-Drapac managed to cut their losses for Rigoberto Uran - their powerful TTT team stopping the clock in 39'21" - while Team Sunweb also ensured they lost very little over the potentially tricky parcours.

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

Times were taken from the fourth rider on each eight-man team to cross the line.

Sky were second off the start ramp and set off to a mixed reception one week after the UCI announced it had closed its anti-doping investigation into Froome. "[It] puts us right back in the game". Without the leak we wouldn't even know about it, but that's the nature of sport now.

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.

"To be honest I didn't even think about it (the yellow jersey), it was just about winning the stage".

"We were favourites and it was good to deliver".

Overnight leader Colombia's Gaviria, who is just 23, said he was happy to be in the white best young riders jersey, although he too will be in pursuit of the green sprint points tunic too. "We were close but not quite quick enough".

Wiggins also said part of the problem was the transparency of the case, with no-one really knowing the real facts.

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