09/07/18 - 14:10
Cholet - Cholet
Tour de France • Stage3

Cholet - Cholet

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Here's how GVA and BMC celebrated the team's stage win and the Belgian's yellow jersey... and I'm sure it will be dedicated to their late owner, Andy Rihs.


Bora-Hansgrohe - the final team to start - come home 50 seconds down on winners BMC, who will be rewarded with a second career yellow jersey for the Belgian Greg van Avermaet. Team Sky second at 4 sec and Quick-Step third at 7 sec.


Bora-Hanshrohe are still on course but they won't be able to turn things round and win this today. They have five riders after Sagan was dropped - and it's all about damage limitation for Majka now.


BMC win the stage! Quick-Step Floors come home seven seconds down and so it will be Greg van Avermaet in yellow today.


As for Quick-Step, they're down to just four riders as they pass the 2km banner. One of them is Bob Jungels, their GC man, so that's a positive. They're only five seconds down but it may be difficult now...


Peter Sagan has exploded! He throws in the towel on a uphill rise, no longer able to keep up with his Bora-Hansgrohe team-mates. We will have a new leader today. Meanwhile, Bora continue with five riders to keep the GC hopes alive for their climber Rafal Majka.


Astana come through the finish 51 seconds down on BMC. That means Jakob Fuglsang - their man for GC - will now be level on time with Porte in the GC.


Not bad from Quick-Step who come through the second check six seconds down on BMC's target time. It's not over yet - although they're down to six riders, make that five now.


Poor Peter Sagan - it looks like he's lost his water bottle at some point and he's only half way through the TTT.


Our first sighting of Trek Segafredo who have hitherto avoided the gaze of the director. That's probably why: it's not a good time for Bauke Mollema's team, which comes home 1'16" down on BMC.


Bora-Hansgrohe come through the first check 13 seconds down on the lead - so that's a loss of one second per kilometre. Sagan will struggle to keep the yellow jersey at this rate - although they still have a full composition of riders.


Quick-Step Floors were just three seconds down at the first check and, despite blowing up on the climb, have managed to maintain that advantage. In fact, they were even ahead in a virtual split as they approach the second check.


Bahrain Merida come home for provisional eight a quite large 1'06" down on BMC. So Nibali will see his 51-seconds advantage on Porte swapped to a 15-second deficit.


Quick-Step Floors have exploded on the climb - by that, I mean that they have been blown to smithereens. Gaviria is dropped - no yellow again for him - and Declercq has dropped back too. But the others have split into two groups of three riders - utter chaos!


Katusha-Alpecin recover to set the sixth-best team at the finish with their four riders - 52" down on leaders BMC. And so, after all that, Zakarin will only be one second behind Porte on GC.


Bahrain Merida are approaching the second check with six riders - including Nibali, Pozzovivo and the two Izagirres. Colbrelli is threre too but Pellizotti has just been dropped on the climb after Nibali put in a big dig. They're 40 seconds down - five seconds quicker than Katusha, but facing the same problem as the Russian team: a lack of riders.


Katusha-Alpecin are having a shocker: they're already down to just four riders and have eight kilometres to ride. Kittel is one of the four riders to have been dropped - and Russia's Ilnur Zakarin could well lose a lot of time today in his GC battle.


Our final team rolls down the ramp - and it's the Bora-Hansgrohe outfit of the yellow jersey and world champion Peter Sagan. They've got some big units in Bodnar, Burghardt, Muhlberger, Oss and Postlberger. It will be a big ask to keep the Slovakian in yellow, but you never know.


And here comes Team Sunweb, who were 13 seconds down at the second check and come home at the finish 11 seconds down on BMC. It won't be enough to put Dumoulin in yellow, but the big Dutchman will maintain most of his advantage over rivals Froome, Porte and Yates from the opening weekend.


We have a new worst team - and by a country mile. Cofidis come home a whopping 3'22" down. That's really atrocious.


It's a super strong team out there: Alaphilippe, Declercq, Gaviria, Gilbert, Jungels, Lampaert, Richeze and Terpstra. They haven't been mentioned in the same breath as the likes of BMC, Sky and Mitchelton-Scott, but it's a team that could feasibly win - or come close enough to take yellow.


Up next is the Quick-Step Floors team of Saturday's winner Fernando Gaviria. It's a very strong team and they'll do their best to put the Colombian back in yellow today - although it will be a big ask.


Nibali's Bahrain Merida come through the first check 21 seconds down on Mitchelton-Scott. So the Italian veteran will see his time gains over turned today. They have a full team of eight riders still, mind.


Katusha-Alpecin are on course now - and already Marcel Kittel has his arm in the air. The big German is not happy about something. He's had a patchy Tour so far, with 3rd place on day one before puncturing yesterday en route to finishing 162nd.


Shocking time for LottoNL-Jumbo who wouldn't have expected to lose so much time today: four riders, including Roglic, come home 1'15" down on BMC, while Kruijswijk is fifth man one or two seconds further back. All gains over Froome et al over the weekend will now be wiped out.


Meanwhile, Peter Sagan will be rocking a full yellow skin suit today when Bora-Hansgrohe get going as the final team down the ramp in about 10 minutes.


It's the joint last time for Lotto-Soudal, who only have four riders together as they cross the line 1'51" down.


So far, nothing to flag up in Bahrain Merida's effort except this...


Team Sunweb have lost one rider but are currently riding just 10 seconds down in the virtual standings. They've done 20km so far so still have 15km to go.


Direct Energie come home to set the slowest time so far - 1'51" down on the leaders BMC.


Meanwhile, it's a steady start for Sunweb, who go through the first check 15 seconds down on Mitchelton-Scott's early target time after 13km.


Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain Merida are the latest team to start - and they need to improve on their effort in the Criterium du Dauphine, where they came home more than two minutes down. They're the oldest team on the race with an average age of 33 - the same age, incidentally, as their leader. Nibali has kept out of trouble so far and is 16 seconds down on Sagan on GC.


Ag2R-La Mondiale come home 1'15" down on the leaders BMC. It's not as bad as UAE but that's a big loss for Romain Bardet, who will count his lucky stars that he held a 51-second lead over Messrs Froome, Porte and Yates going into today's test.


Ag2R-La Mondiale are down to just five riders now - including Bardet - as they pass two stragglers from UAE Team Emirates in the final two kilometres.


UAE Team Emirates cross the line a huge 1'38" down on GC with the clearly overweight Alexander Kristoff in a full green skinsuit leading them home. The Norwegian is third in the points classification but Sagan is in yellow and Gaviria in white, leaving green for the European champion. Dan Martin was there but he'll now be behind Froome and Porte on GC but still above Quintana.


We're hearing that Greg van Avermaet finished ahead of Tejay Van Garderen when BMC came home - so it's the Belgian who would, for now, be in yellow tonight.


Ag2R-La Mondiale were 58 seconds down at the second check and have just lost Sylvan Dillier, who crashed badly yesterday. Meanwhile, Dan Martin's UAE Team Emirates were 1'05" down and so the Irishman has already lost all his advantage going into today's TTT.


EF Education First-Drapac limit their losses to 35 seconds at the finish - Rigoberto Uran will be pleased with that: he'll maintain some of his GC advantage over rivals Froome and Porte.


Team Sunweb roll down the ramp. A good run today would put their man Tom Dumoulin in a very good position. They're TTT world champions so should put in a good shift today.


As for Movistar, they finished 49 down on Sky, which is 53 down on BMC. So, the advantage that Landa and Valverde had over Froome is wipes out, while Quintana falls further back.


BMC power over the line to better Team Sky by four seconds. We have a new target time of 38'46" at the finish. That will be a big morale boost for Richie Porte.


Meanwhile, here's Peter Sagan's father celebrating his son's win yesterday...


Some other times at the first check to update you with: UAE are 31 seconds down on Mitchelton-Scott's target, while Ag2R-La Mondiale are 32 seconds down. It looks like both Martin and Bardet will see their advantage disappear today.


LottoNL-Jumbo up next. They have both Primoz Roglic and Steven Kruijswijk for GC and neither rider has put a foot wrong so far in this Tour.


Amazingly, Lawson Craddock is still with the EF Education First team as they come through the second check 24 seconds down on BMC. Chapeau!


Here was Sky coming over the finish line - although it looks like BMC will topple them at this rate...


Meanwhile, BMC have gone through the second check a whopping six seconds clear of Team Sky. Wow - they mean business. Van Garderen or Van Avermaet in yellow?


At the second check after 26.5km Movistar came through 27 seconds down on Team Sky, and come the finish that gap has stretched out to 49 seconds. It doesn't bode well for Quintana...


Fortuneo-Samsic and Direct Energie have got their TTT started. Up next is Lotto-Soudal, who will be the 11th team to leave - marking the half-way point.


Geraint Thomas leads the remaining six Sky riders home with a 4.78 second lead over Mitchelton-Scott. We have a new leading team - but will their time of 38'50" be enough for the win? If it is, then the Welshman could well be in yellow.


Sky still have six riders in a line as they power their way towards the finish line. We're being told that they're six seconds to the better for now...


Mitchelton-Scott power over the finish line in a row of four riders - including Adam Yates - to set the target time of 38'55". Remember, the time is taken from the four rider to cross the line. Can Sky beat it?


Meanwhile, Ag2R-La Mondiale are on the course now. It's a day of destiny for Romain Bardet, who will need to limit his losses. He has that buffer over his big GC rivals but will lose time to others.


Movistar are shedding riders. Imanol Erviti has just been dropped.


BMC come through the first check level with Team Sky and one second down on leaders Mitchelton-Scott. It's clearly going to be very tight at the top today.


Team Sky come through three seconds quicker than Mitchelton Scott! So, that's why Rowe and Poels have been blown off the back - they're going like rockets!


At the second check at the Cote de la Seguiniere after 26.5km Mitchelton Scott come through to set the target time of 29'06". Sky are currently on the climb so we will have a reference time soon.


Movistar have come through the first check two seconds down on Mitchelton-Scott - so it's tight at the top, with Sky in between the two. Groupama are a distant fourth, 41 seconds adrift.


The UAE Team Emirates squad of Dan Martin and almost-there-but-not-quite sprinter Alexander Kristoff are under way. Ireland's Martin will hope to limit his losses today. He has that buffer having not fared badly over the opening weekend. But his UAE team were atrocious in the Dauphine TTT which was a real wake-up call as it scuppered his chances in the annual warm-up race for the Tour.


This is not good for Sky: Wout Poels has been dropped too. He looks terrible. Perhaps the Dutchman is ill? Of course, they could be going so well that both Rowe and Poels are collateral. Who knows...


Uh oh, it doesn't bode well for Sky's second most famous Welshman...


EF Education First-Drapac have now started. Their man for GC is Rigoberto Uran, who has kept out of trouble so far and is only 16 seconds down on GC. It could be a difficult day for their American rider Lawson Craddock, who has been riding in severe pain after crashing badly in the opening stage and fracturing his scapula.


While we already have four of the strongest teams on course there should be excitement to the end because LottoNL-Jumbo (15:05), Tom Dumoulin's Team Sunweb (15:15), Quick-Step Floors (15:50) and, the last team to start, Bora-Hansgrohe (15:55) have strong teams and could be a factor.


Should BMC win today then they could put Van Garderen or Greg van Avermaet into yellow: both riders are currently only 16 seconds down on Sagan on GC.


The BMC team of Richie Porte roll down the ramp. The Australian - like Froome and Yates - is 1'07" down on GC after being caught out in a crash in the opening stage. BMC will be one of the favourites today what with the likes of Pat Bevin, Stefan Kung, Michael Schar and Tejay van Garderen amongst their numbers.


And Team Sky pass through the same check just one second slower.


Mitchelton-Scott - with Yates and Nieve sticking to the back, as expected - have passed through the first check at Saint-Andre-de-la-Marche after 13km in a time of 14'13".


The latest team down the ramp is Groupama-FDJ. WIthout any GC rider, they have little motivation to put in a big effort. They'll want to conserve energy and deliver Arnaud Demare - second yesterday - to a stage victory over the next week.


There are some crosswinds out there today but this Mitchelton-Scott team should fare well in these kind of conditions. Yates may be quite small and slender - ditto his mountain lieutenant Mikel Nieve - but the rest of the team are huge units: Jack Bauer, Luke Durbridge, Mat Hayman, Michael Hepburn, Damien Hoswen and Daryl Impey. There's a high chance that they will lead from start to finish - although don't tell BMC that.


Next down the ramp is Movistar - the third worst team so far in the race. That sounds crazy - after all, Mitchelton-Scott, Sky and Movistar boast three of the race favourites in Yates, Froome and Nairo Quintana - but that's the way it is. Quintana didn't crash over the weekend, but his untimely mechanical in stage one saw the Colombian lose more time that his rivals who did hit the deck. He's currently a massive 1'31" down on the race summit and needs a change of fortunes - especially in a team that also boasts Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde as viable GC candidates.


The teams are leaving at 5-minute intervals and it's the Team Sky outfit of defending champion Chris Froome who are next. They had a miserable opening day with Froome leaving the road and almost hitting a bollard, Egan Bernal crashing hard and Wout Poels being held up in a pile-up. But Geraint Thomas is well placed and - trailing Sagan by just 15 seconds on GC - could feasibly be in yellow today if they ride well.


Adam Yates is already 1'07" down on GC after hitting the deck on both of the opening stages. Yesterday he was joined on the floor by team-mates Luka Durbridge and Daryl Impey. The team dropped sprinter Caleb Ewan before the race to focus entirely around Yates for GC, with a big emphasis on big engines who can excel in this discipline.


And here we are - our first team are primed and ready to roll down the ramp. And it's Mitchelton-Scott, one of the favourites for today. They wouldn't have expected to be running so early, but those crashes over the opening weekend have put the Australian team at the bottom of the team standings, and so it's first they must go.


The big favourites today will be Mitchelton-Scott, Team Sky and BMC - that's to say, the teams who suffered the most over the opening weekend. Mitchelton-Scott saw many of their riders hit the deck yesterday - including Adam Yates for a second day running - while both Team Sky and BMC saw their leaders Chris Froome and Richie Porte lose time on the opening stage on Saturday. Could they win back what they've lost today?


And here's the video profile and map of a slightly technical course that includes a few hills along the way.

Video - Stage 3 Profile


Here's the official profile of today's 35km TTT around Cholet.


Yesterday, world champion Peter Sagan roared into the yellow jersey with victory in Stage 2 of the Tour de France after a late pile-up held up race leader Fernando Gaviria and blew the pack to smithereens. Slovakia’s Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) powered past Frenchman Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) on the uphill home straight before holding off Italy’s Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) in a tight finish to move into the race lead. Read more below...


Bonjour le Tour! Hello and welcome to live coverage of the first GC showdown of this year's Tour de France - a 35.5km team time trial that should shake up the standings at the top of the table a little in this third and final day in La Vendee region of north-west France.