Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about, and that goes for the Tour de France as well. With the stage 3 team time trial we were likely to see a bit of a shake up in the GC. After 2 days of crashes that saw many of the GC favourites lose time, it was time for them to claw some of that time back. Going into this stage the big winners were Big Tom, Nibbles, Uran, Bardet, BloodBag Valverde, Zakarin, Thomas, Mollema, Landa, Martin, Roglic and Majka. The biggest losers were Froome, Porte, Yates and Quintana. After the stage, in a discipline that favoured BMC, Sky and Sunweb we would see what unfolded.
There were a few surprises in the top teams. The first, that Sky did not win with 5 national TT champions in it’s team, plus the Olympic bronze medalist in Froome. On paper some might say unbeatable. But they were beaten by a determined BMC team, putting Greg van Avermat into the leaders jersey. Third place went to Quickstep, who dropped Gaviria along the way to post the 3rd best time. The road inspectors, Michelton Scott, boasting at least 3 riders who had hit the deck already, posted the 4th best time. Sunweb came in 5th, losing only 11 seconds, making Big Tom the big winner of the day. Although some might say Geraint Thomas, who is now 4th, was the big winner. But the question will be, will he be called upon to help Froome, or will he be given freedom to ride for himself, something that might be very important on the cobbles on Sunday.Plus, is he good enough in the mountains, some would say not never having posted a top 10 in the Tour.
Ride of the day has to go to EF Education First. 35 seconds down, but keeping Uran ahead of Froome, Porte and Yates in the GC. But it was not about Uran that made this a great story, but Lawson Craddock. He not only rode the TTT, but contributed to the turns and only dropped away towards the end. Hopefully this is not a story similar to the Tyler Hamilton one of 2003.
A couple of corrections on my questionable reporting. TTT start order. I got it wrong. They went off in team order position, not GC rider position, except for Yellow jersey holder Sagans team. Also, Sky’s, Bernal, I said he was an unknown TT quality, well he is the Colombian national champ, maybe I should do my research. Then again it would have just been a race with him, Uran and Quintana.
No news on the sweepstake today. No points on offer for the TTT, and after reading my sketchy notes on how to calculate a TTT prize I wimped out as it looks too hard. I do have to do some work today!
Actually, let me give a mention to yesterdays biggest mover(s) as I know a mention in the report is all most of you can hope for. So kudos to Puffy and Ride ’em Hard for a jump of 168 places. Normal service will be resumed tonight as we hit the sprint train once again.