Tour de France: Chris Froome gains on rivals as jeering fades

Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana Romain Bardet and Richie Porte- Tour de France 2018 Who are the favourites to challenge Team Sky's defending champion Chris Froome

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Besides what it did for Porte, in helping him to make up for the 51 seconds he lost on stage one, it elevated Belgian teammate Greg van Avermaet, the Olympic road champion, into the yellow jersey as overall leader.

With Froome, Yates and BMC's Richie Porte three of the four big losers among the general classification riders on Saturday, this stage did much to level the playing field. "We've got some specialists in the team, I'm so happy we got this collective victory". "We're on track but there's still so much to go through".

Van Avermaet, who excels at single-day classics, isn't a threat for the overall title but he could keep the lead through the cobblestoned Stage 9 ending in Roubaix. We'll take it day by day.

Times were taken from the fourth rider on each eight-man team to cross the line. It would have been nice not to have lost it in the first place. "I love France and the Tour, which is the most handsome race on the planet". I think there will be a lot more time lost throughout the GC group before we hit the mountains. "You have to step up and deliver on the day and that's not an easy thing to do on a Tour de France team time trial stage". "That's just the nature of the game".

Quick-Step Floors were third, seven seconds behind Sky, with world champions Sunweb, featuring Tom Dumoulin, 11 seconds behind in fifth.

After that, the gaps became more significant.

Vincenzo Nibali's Bahrain-Merida squad were 11th on the day, giving up 62 seconds to Team Sky, while Romain Bardet's AG2R La Mondiale team finished 12th, 71 seconds back.

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"Team EF-Drapac managed to cut their losses for Rigoberto Uran - their powerful TTT team stopping the clock in 39'21" - while Team Sunweb also ensured they lost very little over the potentially tricky parcours.

The Tour remains in western France for Stage 3 on Monday with a 35.5-kilometre team time trial that starts and finishes in Cholet.

Sky were second off the start ramp and set off to a mixed reception one week after the UCI announced it had closed its anti-doping investigation into Froome. 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.

He was also in yellow in three stages at Tour de France two years ago.

"Fernando won yesterday and now I'm the one with the yellow jersey, it's been exciting". "It just shows that we are here, too, and let's get it on".

For Porte, the stage win took on special significance as it marked a year since he crashed out of last year's Tour on the decent into Chambery on the ninth stage.

The only individual time trial of the race comes in the penultimate stage, over a 31-kilometer route from Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle to Espelette in the Basque country. "We are masters in it and I'm happy to be part of it".

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