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Sagan takes yellow as Gaviria crashes in stage 2

Sagan takes yellow as Gaviria crashes in stage 2

Movistar could only manage 10th place on the day, 50 seconds off Team Sky's pace, which means Froome is nearly back on level terms with Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde, while Nairo Quintana dropped even further back after his opening day woes.

Overnight leader Peter Sagan was dropped by his Bora Hansgrohe teammates and fell to 80th overall, three minutes behind. "I feel maybe even better (than last year)".

Tuesday's fourth stage takes the riders from La Baule to Sarzeau over a largely flat 195km course.

Froome is aiming to join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain as the only riders to win the Tour five times.

BMC clocked 38 minutes 46 seconds as their Belgian rider Greg van Avermaet took the overall leader's yellow jersey, with Sky in second place four seconds behind. It also put American teammate Tejay van Garderen in second place at the same time.

But Gaviria was involved in a group pileup inside the three-kilometre zone that neutralizes the impact of accidents and could do nothing to stop Sagan from claiming a six-second overall lead.

Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida squad were 11th on the day, giving up 62 seconds to Sky, while Romain Bardet's AG2R La Mondiale team finished 12th, 71 seconds off Sky's time.

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"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.

German Marcel Kittel, who has 14 Tour stage wins under his belt, suffered a puncture just under eight kilometres from the line and could not make it back to the front of the bunch in time. "It wasn't ideal to throw 51 seconds away but we have taken some good time back on some of the other GC (general classification) guys today".

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

Sagan, however, said there was no revenge factor in mind, and that just wearing yellow was reason enough to celebrate.

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. "It just shows that we are here, too, and let's get it on".

It was all about the team for Thomas, though, even if he missed out on the yellow jersey by three seconds.

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