BMC’s Richie Porte called it “fantastic.”
Sunweb’s Tom Dumoulin is feeling “awesome” and “amazing.” Reigning Tour champion Chris Froome of Team Sky, is pleased as punch. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education First) is in a tranquillo state of mind. And Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) who lost time and fell off his bike during the first two stages? Rebounding nicely, thank-you for asking.
Tour contenders Nairo Quintana (Movistar), Romain Bardet (AG2R) and Dan Martin (UAE Team Emirates) and Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida)? Uhh, not so much.
Porte is firmly in the GC hunt (and his teammate Greg Van Avermaet in yellow) after BMC ripped out and around Cholet during the 35.5 kilometer team time trial. They beat Froome and Sky by four seconds and Quickstep Floors by seven. Dumoulin and Sunweb, the UCI 2017 World Team Time Trial Champions, were fourth, eleven seconds off BMC’s rocket speed.
Sadly, the sueño amarillo of Nairo Quintana is off to a nightmarish start. He lost 1:15 on stage one after damaging both wheels and getting a glacial change from Mavic neutral support. In today’s challenge against the clock, his Movistar squad dropped 52 seconds and that puts the Colombian 2:05 behind on GC.
Quintana put on a brave, philosophical face but everybody knows the score. “It’s never nice when you lose time, but as far as bad days go, it wasn’t too bad today,” he said. Given that he’s now had two bad days out of three, he’d better hope he really is the best climber in the race. His teammate (and rival) Mikel Landa had luck on his side on stage one, making the front group when the peloton split. On GC, he’s only two seconds behind Froome and 50 seconds behind Geraint Thomas. Things could get ugly in MovistarLand.
Romain Bardet said he came into this Tour wanting to be “humble.” There are several definitions of the word and they don’t sound promising when applied to a race against the clock: “A feeling of insignificance, inferiority,” and “low in rank, importance, status, quality.” His AG2R team rolled in a full minute behind BMC. C’est pas bon, mes amis.
We have questioned the reasoning behind Dan Martin’s decision to switch teams from QuickStep to UAE Team Emirates from day he signed the contract. He had finished a fabulous sixth overall last year in the Tour with the Belgian outfit despite a significant back injury sustained when Richie Porte hit him in a high speed crash. It’s worth noting that today his old squad finished in third, just seven second back. Meanwhile, Martin’s new formation could only manage 15th place, a disappointing 1:38 behind. That’s not going to get the Irishman on the podium.
Special props go again to EF-Education First’s Lawson Craddock, who somehow made it through a third day with a fractured scapula. Your pain threshold astounds us.