Olympic champion takes Tour de France yellow jersey in team time trial

Peter Sagan is happy to be back at the Tour after being kicked out early in 2017

A year after leaving the Tour de France in disgrace, Peter Sagan earned the race's yellow jersey on Sunday after doing what he does best: Powering past the competition to reach the finish line.

Quick-Step Floors nicked third place in a time of 38:53, while Adam Yates' Mitchelton-Scott team were a further two seconds behind before some much larger time gaps further down the order.

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.

Froome's Sky team mate Geraint Thomas could however prove a thorn in his side as the Welshman, who underlined his credentials by winning the Criterium du Dauphine last month, is third overall, 52 seconds ahead of his leader.

BMC Racing were four seconds quicker than their nearest rivals, Team Sky, in the stage three team time trial.

Rock bottom in the teams classification, MItchelton-Scott were the first team to take to the rolling 35.5kkm course, and they burst out of the blocks.

In a race that could be decided by a matter of seconds, the time loss is a big early setback for Team Sky leader Froome, in the race after being cleared of any wrongdoing following a urine test that showed he had an excessive level of a banned asthma medication in last year's Tour of Spain.

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"We have the yellow jersey, we won a stage with the team. and Richie can finish it off with a nice podium spot in Paris", Van Avermaet said. World champion Sunweb featuring Tom Dumoulin finished fifth, 11 seconds back.

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) lost almost a minute to his chief rivals, while Vincenzo Nibali, Romain Bardet and Ilnur Zakarin also losing decent chunks of time.

BMC Racing has been a flawless fit for Bevin, who has been able to develop into one of the premier time trial riders on the World Tour.

Froome is aiming to join Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain as the only riders to win the Tour five times. "They looked strong throughout, and were rewarded for their efforts with the fastest time, their time of 38'46" taking four precious seconds out of Sky with a ride averaging 54.9kmh.

BMC, which is searching for a new title sponsor, also won the previous team time trial on the Tour in 2015. Me and Mikel [Nieve] sat on for the first part where it was fast, and then towards the end we started pulling a couple of turns to give the boys a bit of recovery. "I'm very happy with the other riders".

Tejay van Garderen is also up there on equal time with van Avermaet and may mount his own GC bid if Porte's Tour goes awry. "Nothing is going to change, we just have to try to stay out of trouble and hope we get lucky".

The Tour heads into the cycling hotbed of Brittany tomorrow for Stage 4, a mostly flat 195-kilometre leg from La Baule to Sarzeau that starts and ends on the Atlantic coast.

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