Dauphiné: BMC wins team time trial

Rohan Dennis moved into the lead of the Critérium du Dauphiné on Tuesday after BMC triumphed in the team time trial on stage three.

The current world champions, whose squad featured four of the five riders who helped them to that title in Ponferrada in September, clocked a time of 29:58 over the 24.5km course from Roanne to Montagny.

Team Sky finished 34 seconds down as Peter Kennaugh relinquished ownership of the leader’s yellow jersey.

Prior to the stage Manuel Quinziato was BMC’s best-placed man on GC but was not among the five riders who reached the finish together, meaning Dennis is the new race leader.

Though the jersey is on Dennis’ shoulders, the general classification man is still Tejay van Garderen - twice fifth at the Tour de France - who now sits in a commanding second place.

"It went great," said the American as he waited to mount the podium. “We finished with five guys, so we were on the limit at the end, but that shows we gave it everything.

"I feel good. This was the first big test of the Dauphiné, and going into the mountains I feel ready to put up a good challenge. It’s a good warning shot going into July."

Despite some early formation problems, Astana finished just four seconds down on BMC to finish in second place, allowing Vincenzo Nibali move up to fourth on GC.

The biggest losers on the day were Team Sky, with Chris Froome shaking his head as he crossed the line having lost 30 seconds to his main rival Nibali.

Cannondale-Garmin’s hopes of defending Andrew Talansky’s overall title took a minor blow too, as they were 43 seconds slower than BMC. Another GC man to lose time was Joaquim Rodriguez, whose Katusha squad were way off the pace at 1:05 back on BMC.

Movistar, Etixx-QuickStep, and Orica-GreenEdge were third, fourth and fifth respectively on the day, reflecting the time trialling pedigree in their teams. Former UCI Hour Record holder Alex Dowsett powered Movistar to a time of 30:03 that launched Alejandro Valverde into the top ten, while Etixx will have been disappointed to finish 13 seconds slower than that. Orica, despite lacking a number of the figures that powered them to team time trial victory at the Giro d’Italia last month, put in a respectable display to finish 23 seconds back on BMC.

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How it happened

This was the first team time trial in the Dauphiné for 35 years, making its return in no small part because of the similar test coming up in the Tour de France in July.

On paper at least, today’s route was a more straightforward affair than the rugged 28km challenge that awaits in Brittany on stage 9 of the Tour, with its stinging climb to the finish. There were no significant ascents, though there was a steady gain in elevation on the back end of a course replete with false flats.

FDJ were first off the start ramp but not much could be gleaned from their performance given that Thibaut Pinot and the core of their have skipped the Dauphiné this year to ride the Tour de Suisse instead. The French squad posted a time of 31:31, which was never going to last long.

BMC were third off and would provide an early reference point as reigning world champions. Four of the riders who helped them to that title in Ponferrada last September - Tejay van Garderen, Rohan Dennis, Manuel Quinziato and Daniel Oss – were riding today as they duly stormed through the 14km intermediate checkpoint in 15:56. They reach