Roche misses chance at yellow jersey in team time trial
Saxo-Tinkoff come fourth in Nice as Gerrans holds on to top spot
Nicolas Roche (left) moved up to ninth overall following the fourth stage of the Tour de France. Photograph: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Orica GreenEdge pipped Mark Cavendish’s Omega Pharma-Quick Step squad by a single second to win the 25km stage in Nice. The Australian squad – whose bus crashed into the finish to cause chaos on stage one – won their first ever Tour stage yesterday when Simon Gerrans sprinted to victory in Calvi, and they doubled up today in Nice to put the 33-year-old former Team Sky rider into the yellow jersey.
Team Sky themselves settled for third place, three seconds back, after another gritty ride from Geraint Thomas on his cracked pelvis, the Welshman keeping up with his team-mates for 24 of the 25 kilometres before falling off the back.
This is likely the perfect scenario for Tour favourite Chris Froome, who has kept any time losses to an absolute minimum while not needing to defend the yellow jersey too early in the Tour.
Roche’s Team Saxo-Tinkoff finished in fourth place, nine seconds behind Orica GreenEdge, to keep the team leader Alberto Contador well in touch with Froome.
If they had found a way to win, Roche would have taken the yellow jersey, but it was not to be, although he did move up two places on general classification from 11th to ninth spot.
Nor was it David Millar’s day. The Garmin-Sharp veteran started out harbouring hopes of wearing yellow after coming so desperately close to claiming the famous jersey on stage two.
However, his Garmin-Sharp squad finished 17 seconds down and the chance was gone for Millar, who wore yellow on his Tour debut in 2000 but never since. Millar’s team-mate Dan Martin moved up from 59th to 19th spot overall, 17 seconds behind Gerrans.