Chris Froome made up some lost time on his rivals despite Team Sky failing to win the team time trial on day three of the Tour de France.
Team Sky were beaten into second place by BMC on the 35.5km circuit around Cholet, with Richie Porte’s team posting a time of 38:46 – four seconds faster than Team Sky – to put Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet into the yellow jersey for Tuesday’s stage four.
Quick-Step Floors nicked third place in a time of 38:53, while Adam Yates’ Mitchelton-Scott team were a further two seconds behind before some much larger time gaps further down the order.
The result means that Froome, Porte and Yates were all able to take a chunk of time back after each losing 51 seconds in the dramatic end to stage one on Saturday.
Movistar could only manage 10th place on the day, 50 seconds off Team Sky’s pace, which means Froome is almost back on level terms with Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde, while Nairo Quintana dropped even further back after his opening day woes.
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.
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.
“Just going on the feeling, I think we can be pretty happy,” Froome said. “We gave it everything we had and it all went pretty much to plan. You can never tell who is going to be on a good day or not, but all in all it worked out well for us.
“Obviously the (Tour) didn’t start too well with the crash on stage one but that’s bike racing. We’ll take it day by day.
“It’s reassuring to take back some time. It would have been nice not to have lost it in the first place. But as I say, that’s bike racing. I think there will be a lot more time lost throughout the GC group before we hit the mountains.
“One day you gain, one day you lose. That’s the nature of the game.”
1 BMC Racing Team 38m 46s
2 Team Sky 38:50
3 Quick-Step Floors 38:53
4 Mitchelton-Scott 38:55
5 Team Sunweb 38:58
6 EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale 39:21
7 Bora-Hansgrohe 39:36
8 Astana Pro Team 39:38
9 Katusha-Alpecin 39:39
10 Movistar Team 39:40
1 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 9:08:55
2 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
3 Geraint Thomas (Gbr) Team Sky +3s
4 Philippe Gilbert (Bel) Quick-Step Floors +5
5 Bob Jungels (Lux) Quick-Step Floors +7
6 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Quick-Step Floors +7
7 Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Team Sunweb +11
8 Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Team Sunweb +11
9 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb +11
10 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe +34
18 Chris Froome (Gbr) Team Sky +55