MONTAGNY, France (AFP) — World champion BMC Racing won Tuesday’s team time trial third stage of the Critérium du Dauphiné, edging Astana in the 24.5-kilometer ride from Roanne to Montagny.
Australian Rohan Dennis is the new race leader and takes the yellow jersey following a stage similar to the stage 9 team time trial in the Tour de France next month.
Defending Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali and his Astana team finished just four seconds back, while the Movistar team led by Spaniard Alejandro Valverde was five seconds behind BMC and placed third.
British team Sky and its leader Chris Froome could only manage sixth place at 35 seconds on a rolling route that included a slight climb to the finish.
In the overall standings, the 25-year-old Dennis leads American teammate Tejay van Garderen, with both riders having the same time, while Ukrainian Andriy Grivko is third and Nibali fourth, both in a group of five cyclists at 4 seconds.
It’s not the first time Dennis has worn the yellow jersey in the Dauphiné—he took the race lead for a day in the 2013 edition of the event after a strong ride in an individual time trial.
“The situation is different in regards to 2013 when it was an individual time-trial and I finished second behind Tony Martin,” said Dennis. “This time, we won. I came to the Dauphine to help the team but in terms of the overall standings, well I’ve progressed in the mountains and I feel stronger than two years ago.
“Tejay van Garderen is better than me on the climbs but I want to help keep the yellow jersey within the team.”
BMC’s performance will certainly boost van Garderen’s GC chances. Now, he’ll need to maintain the advantage his team built today as the race enters the mountains.
“It was the first test of the Dauphine and we gave everything at the finish and this effort paid off,” said van Garderen. “The next stage should finish in a sprint and after there are the mountains. It’s a big challenge but I feel ready.”
Wednesday’s fourth stage will see the peloton encounter its longest day in the saddle as it rides 228km from Anneyron to Sisteron.