Froome plays it safe as Sagan sprints ahead at Tour de France


Froome plays it safe as Sagan sprints ahead at Tour de France

Peter Sagan wearing the overall leader's yellow jersey after win in stage two of the Tour de France.

Overnight leader Colombia's Gaviria, who is just 23, said he was happy to be in the white best young riders jersey, although he too will be in pursuit of the green sprint points tunic too.

There is a bloody past to the red handkerchiefs that many fans will wave during Monday's third stage of the Tour de France.

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 was another to have to put in a big shift for his team, and by extension his own GC hopes - with Bahrain-Merida down to four riders with a quarter of the 35.5km stage still to go.

We hear from Sagan's Bora-Hansgrohe sports director Enrico Poitschke about the team's victory and from Marcel Kittel, who was third yesterday but also lost the chance to contest the sprint.

"Today, we just handled business", said Van Garderen, who has twice finished in the top five at the Tour but is riding this edition in a declared supporting role for Porte. "I was a bit scared because Sonny was coming back strong".

BMC Racing were four seconds faster than Team Sky over the 35.5km course, with Mitchelton-Scott another five seconds back, as Chris Froome and Adam Yates also cancelled their early deficit after their crashes on stage one.

Team Sky's Geraint Thomas missed out on the yellow jersey by just three seconds, having started the day sixth in the general classification and one second up on Van Avermaet.

Froome, who fell into a ditch near the end of Saturday's opening stage, arrived safely with most of the peloton.

Smith was focussed on winning the climber's polka dot jersey, and once he had secured that after the only classified climb came early in the stage, he was called back to the bunch to help his team.

The pressure has unquestionably risen on Froome and Team Sky in spite of anti-doping authorities ending their investigation into this salbutamol levels, but he is adamant that he is able to put the pressure to the side and focus on the task at hand.

Froome is 1:07 behind Sagan's leading time as he pursues a fifth Tour title. The 22.1-mile loop starts and finishes in Cholet. And in what was expected to be a calm day for the favorites, two-time runner-up Nairo Quintana lost 1:10 when both of his tires were punctured.

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

After the first stage that hugged the Atlantic coast, the race rolled inland through green pastures, forest groves, and yellow wheat fields baked by the summer sun. He was absorbed by the peloton with eight miles left. "It's been a great little journey over the past couple of months to come to this team and become part of a really tight team time trial unit and to really add to that is something I will be proud of for a long time", he said. Tsgabu Grmay of Ethiopia also retired.