Peter Sagan secures stage win as Chris Froome stays out of trouble

Thursday, 12 Jul, 2018

Porte may be linked with a switch to the American Trek-Segafredo team next year, but the future of other riders and team staff is uncertain; and in the biggest race of the year, Monday's victory was the medicine they all collectively needed to reaffirm their overriding goal of reaching the finish as the team of the 2018 Tour victor.

That meant that Froome, Yates and BMC's Porte were all able to take a chunk of time back on several key rivals after suffering losses on stage one. "I think I am in good condition and I have a good team around me but there are no doubts that this is the most important test of the season for me".

Richie Porte's team were six seconds quicker than Team Sky at the second split and continued to press on, putting Van Avermaet in yellow for the second time in his career.

"The only thing I can really understand from it was that Chris didn't even go to the adverse analytical finding, it didn't even get to that stage, he was asked to explain himself which he got given due process to do and he was cleared by the people that run the sport and doping agency and that's all we really know".

Team Sky, who were greeted with boos as they negotiated the course, finished in the runner's-up spot, 4 seconds behind, with Geraint Thomas moving into third place overall before van Avermaet and the Belgian's team mate, Tejay van Garderen. "We gave it everything we had and it all went pretty much to plan".

"One day you gain, one day you lose". "I love France and the Tour, which is the most attractive race on the planet. That's just the nature of the game".

BMC Racing were the fifth team to start the stage and they laid down the marker early, edging other leading contenders Team Sky (38:50) and Mitchelton-Scott (38:55), to land themselves in the hot seat.

"We're taking some time back on some of the other GC guys". It's still a long way to Paris but it's great to win a stage at the Tour and we will enjoy this moment.

"We were favourites and it was good to deliver".

Greg van Avermaet was the virtual leader when Peter Sagan, in the yellow jersey, rolled down the ramp with Bora-hansgrohe and Fernando Gaviria set off with Quick-Step Floors.

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. "It just shows that we are here, too, and let's get it on".

While Sky missed out, victory was a boon to Porte - a year to the day after he was hospitalised by the serious crash which ended his 2017 Tour - and the BMC team whose future remains uncertain as they seek a new title sponsor. The rider was the fastest in a very reduced group that resulted after a last-kilometres crash.