Belgian Greg van Avermaet in yellow after time trial win

Belgian Greg van Avermaet in yellow after time trial win

Team Sky (38:50) were second fastest to help four-time victor Froome climb the standings, with Quick-Step Floors another three seconds adrift in third.

"Tomorrow's another day", he said, with his Quick Step team amongst the favourites to win in Monday.

Mitchelton-Scott were fourth in the time trial, two seconds ahead of world champions Sunweb.

Gaviria leads the sprint points standings with 61 to Sagan's 37, but neither man will be in green on Sunday.

"We knew the first days were going to be tricky, what happened is part of the game", said the 33-year-old who had a skinned knee and some possible bruising on his right shoulder after his head-over-heels fall.

The defending champion had lost 51secs to some of his main rivals following a crash in the opening stage, but the collective effort against the clock around Cholet put him back in contention. "There are a lot of other good teams". "Everyone is working well together and we have a strong team and Richie can be up there".

World Champion Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) has won the second stage of the 2018 Tour de France in a closely-fought sprint.

Van Avermaet earned the yellow jersey by leading BMC over the line, just ahead of American teammate Tejay van Garderen, who moved up to second overall, with the same time as Van Avermaet.

With the incident here coming in the final three kilometres, none of those held up will suffer time losses on general classification.

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It proved interesting with enough changes to the time gaps among riders like Porte, Chris Froome (Sky), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Romain Bardet (AG2R) to make for a juicy race.

Squad leaders traded turns on the front of the team "trains", with the ability to constantly maintain a fast pace the decisive factor over a challenging - if not highly technical - route featuring a few minor hills.

They finished in a winning time of 38min 46sec, giving the team a necessary boost, with reports suggesting they may be forced to fold at the end of the year if they can not attract extra sponsorship.

"I'm happy to be here", Froome noted.

"I feel maybe even better (than last year)", Porte said.

Sylvain Chavanel, who is making a record 18th Tour appearances, went on a long breakaway and soaked up the applause from the French fans before being absorbed with 13K left.

The other members of BMC are Patrick Bevin, Damiano Caruso, Simon Gerrans, Stefan Kung and Michael Schar. "To win the stage with a team like we have here, and especially with the passing of Andy Rihs, is special", Porte said. The Frenchman got warmly welcomed by the people on the sides of the road and got an advantage of more than four minutes with the peloton. "It just shows that we are here, too, and let's get it on".

Gaviria, 23, won four stages in last year's Giro d'Italia and is living up to his billing as the next big thing in sprinting.