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Thomas in an upbeat mood after his podium

 

Pedal Power: Geraint Thomas crosses the finish line of the first stage
Pedal Power: Geraint Thomas crosses the finish line of the first stage

By Ian Parkes

The rebrand from Team Sky to Team Ineos did nothing to change their luck in Tour de France team time trials but another podium finish without victory at least saw Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal pick up significant chunks of time on their rivals for the yellow jersey.

Ineos were first off the ramp for yesterday's 27.6km run around Brussels and sat in the hot seat for almost two hours before watching the final team to start, Jumbo-Visma, take 20 seconds off their time of 29 minutes 18 seconds to keep Saturday's shock stage winner Mike Teunissen in yellow.

It was the fifth time that the team known as Team Sky until Sir Jim Radcliffe's buyout in May have finished in the top three of a team time trial at the Tour, but victory continues to elude them.

"Looking at GC, it's a good performance, but obviously we wanted to win," Thomas said. "I think 20 seconds (to Jumbo-Visma) is a big enough gap to know a few mistakes didn't cost us the stage win. It was a positive day for sure."

The Welshman added that he had felt no ill-effects from his late tumble on stage one.

"I have no injury issues," he said. "I was going pretty slow when I hit the barriers yesterday - I'm absolutely fine."

Though Gianni Moscon - a rider who was almost sacked by then Team Sky 12 months ago when he was disqualified from the Tour for punching Elie Gesbert on stage 15 - was denied the yellow jersey, Thomas and Bernal will welcome the sight of some significant time gaps.

Home hope Romain Bardet suffered the biggest loss as his AG2R La Mondiale squad conceded 59 seconds to the Ineos duo, while Richie Porte's Trek-Segafredo gave up 58 seconds and Nairo Quintana's Movistar lost 45.

Dan Martin's UAE Team Emirates squad lost 43 seconds on Ineos but - given their lack of pedigree in the discipline - the Irishman was not too disappointed.

Others suffered less damage but still find themselves down the general classification standings. Groupama-FDJ's Thibaut Pinot lost 12 seconds on the Ineos duo and Bahrain-Merida's Vincenzo Nibali conceded 16.

Jakob Fuglsang, who suffered a knee injury in a late crash on Saturday, kept his losses to 21 seconds against Ineos as he battled to help his Astana team, and it was the same deficit for Adam Yates and Mitchelton-Scott.

Simon Yates, here to help Adam in the mountains, was dropped by his team-mates with around 11km to go but that did not hamper the squad too much.

Long before Jumbo-Visma rolled off the ramp, the first team to seriously threaten Ineos' mark was Katusha-Alpecin, powered along by Britain's time-trial champion Alex Dowsett.

They slipped to fifth overall by the end of the afternoon, 26 seconds down on Jumbo-Visma, but Dowsett said the performance left him "buzzing".

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