Chris Froome faces early test

Fernando Gaviria wins the opening stage at the 2018 Tour de France

Colombian Fernando Gaviria snatched the lead of the Tour de France when he won the opening stage as favourites Chris Froome, Richie Porte and Nairo Quintana were involved in separate incidents and lost time on Saturday.

Belgium's Van Avermaet was part of the BMC group that clocked 38 minutes 46 seconds on the 35.5km route in Cholet.

"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.

Overall, Froome is in 18th place, 55 seconds off the pace and still 44 behind 2017 Giro d'Italia victor Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, who with Team Sunweb only lost seven seconds to the Briton today.

Sagan would have been happy to hold on to it, but the yellow jersey isn't his priority for the Tour, and with the top 59 riders overall separated by just 16 seconds, it was going to take something special from Bora-Hansgrohe to keep him on top.

Team Sky, another unusual early starter, were booed by roadside spectators throughout their effort but posted nearly identical times through the first two time checks - as did BMC Racing, who also found themselves in an unfamiliar early start time.

It also put American teammate Tejay van Garderen in second place at the same time. "To win the stage with a team like we have here, and especially with the passing of Andy Rihs, is special", Porte said.

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BMC Racing team in the third stage of the Tour de France.

"There was way too much wind for me", said the slightly-built Porte.

Their victory also helped Belgian team-mate Greg van Avermaet into the tour leaders yellow jersey.

They finished in a winning time of 38min 46sec, giving the team a necessary boost, with reports suggesting they may be forced to fold at the end of the year if they can not attract extra sponsorship.

Among the overall favorites, Dumoulin lies seventh (11 seconds behind), last year's runner-up Rigoberto Uran is 10th (:35), Porte 14th (:51), Movistar teammates Alejandro Valverde and Mikel Landa are 17th (:53), Froome 18th (:55), Adam Yates 20th (1:00) and 2014 champion Vincenzo Nibali 22nd (1:06).

The 28-year-old Sagan said this win means that "I'm really back" following his disqualification from the 2017 Tour. "It's still a long way to go, six more hectic days and the mountains".

Tonight's fourth stage is a flat, 195km stage in Brittany between La Baule and Sarzeau that is expected to finish in a bunch sprint.

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