BMC wins Tour de France team time trial; Chris Froome leads overall

Chris Froome kept the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey as his Team Sky finished one second behind Tejay van Garderen's BMC team in the team time trial on Sunday.

Van Garderen was 13 seconds behind Froome in third place overall overnight, meaning his BMC team — the reigning world champions in the discipline — needed to win by 14 seconds for the American rider to take the yellow jersey.

Movistar finished third, four seconds behind BMC, as Colombian rider Nairo Quintana gained some valuable time on defending Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali of Italy and two-time winner Alberto Contador.

The 22 teams started off the ninth stage within five minutes of each other over a 28-kilometer (17.4-mile) trek that ended with a short and sharp hill of 1.7 kilometers (1.1 miles). Teams have to get five riders over the line with the overall time credited to the fifth rider of the line.

BMC's team featured four riders from the team that won last year's worlds: Van Garderen, Rohan Dennis, Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato. The Australian rider Dennis won the Tour's opening individual time trial in a record average speed.

At the Criterium du Dauphine last month, BMC won the team time trial with Froome's Team Sky placing sixth, 35 seconds behind — but on a less challenging course.

The race was tight.

BMC and Sky were level at the first time check, with Froome's team one second ahead at the second split.

Wearing a tailor-made yellow skin suit, Froome hammered down on the pedals as his team reached speeds of 70 kph (43.4 mph) approaching the stage-ending final climb of 1.7 kilometers (1.1 miles) with an average gradient of 6.2 percent.

It seemed Sky's stage for the taking, but they lost time toward the end, having perhaps gone too fast into the climb up Cote de Cadoudal.

The stage shook up the overall classification somewhat, although there were no massive gains or losses.

Heading into Monday's rest day, and the Pyrenees mountain climbs of next week, Froome leads Van Garderen by 12 seconds and Belgian rider Greg Van Avermaet — another BMC rider — by 27 seconds.

Contador drifted out from 36 seconds behind Froome overnight to 1 minute, 3 seconds; Quintana is 1:59 behind and Nibali's Tour prospects are dimming as he sits 2:22 behind.

“Right now, the biggest threat is Tejay van Garderen,” Froome said.

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