Chris Froome. Picture: NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP​
Chris Froome. Picture: NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP​

Cholet — Chris Froome made up for lost time at the Tour de France on Monday although Team Sky narrowly missed out on victory in the third stage, a 35.5km team time trial won by BMC Racing.

Britain’s defending champion had lost 51sec to some of his main rivals after a crash in the opening stage but his team’s efforts against the clock put him back in contention.

BMC clocked 38min 46sec as their Belgian rider Greg van Avermaet took the overall leader’s yellow jersey, with Sky in second place 4sec behind.

"It’s a dream. We rode a good time trial and the whole team worked hard," said Van Avermaet. "We’ve got some specialists in the team, I’m so happy we got this collective victory."

Overall, Froome is in 18th place, 55sec off the pace and still 44 behind 2017 Giro d’Italia winner Dutchman Tom Dumoulin, who with Team Sunweb only lost 7sec to the Briton.

Among the top contenders, 2017’s runner-up Rigoberto Uran is 10th, 35sec behind.

Froome’s teammate Geraint Thomas could prove a thorn in his side as the Welshman, who underlined his credentials by winning the Criterium du Dauphine in June, is third overall, 52sec ahead of his leader.

It was all about the team for Thomas, though, even if he missed out on the yellow jersey by 3sec. "A bit disappointed not to win but it was a technical race because of the wind, changes of direction, up and down as well. We did well as a team, but disappointed not to take the win, we were so close," he said.

Movistar lost 53sec, which leaves Colombian Nairo Quintana, twice runner-up, 1:13 behind Froome – a huge gap after only three days of racing.

Tuesday’s fourth stage is a 195km flat ride from La Baule to Sarzeau.