Garmin-Cervelo boss TTT
Contador drops further time in Les Essarts
Last Updated: July 3, 2011 6:09pm
Hushovd: Led home his Garmin-Cervelo team to ride into the yellow jersey on stage two
Garmin-Cervelo took victory in the team time trial on stage two of the Tour de France putting Thor Hushovd into the yellow leader's jersey.
The American squad crossed the line with a time of 24 minutes and 48 seconds which held firm as a number of top teams came within fractions of taking the top spot.
BMC Racing took second on the day with Cadel Evans narrowly missing out on the chance to go into yellow by a single second, with his team ending the 23-kilometres course four seconds down.
The Australian came into the stage with a three-second buffer over Hushovd after Saturday's finish on the Mont des Alouettes, a margin that would not quite be enough in the Vendee.
Team Sky were the third squad home with a time just fractions of a second slower than BMC after a strong start to the stage.
The British squad were fastest through the first split at Boulogne but were unable to hold on at the line as they bid to put Geraint Thomas into the yellow jersey.
With the Welshman denied by four seconds, the final place on the podium came under siege in the closing stages as a number of top squads came within centimetres of the top times.
British interests at the top of the leaderboard are led by Hushovd's team-mate David Millar, who sits second on the same time as the Norwegian. Thomas and fellow Team Sky man Bradley Wiggins follow just three seconds further back in fourth and 12th respectively.
One of the pre-stage favourites HTC-Highroad got off to a turbulent start as Bernhard Eisel crashed in the opening stages on the exit of a corner, leaving his squad a man light from the outset.
Despite the early hiccup, the men in white crossed the line led by sprinters Mark Cavendish and Matt Goss but were narrowly denied the chance to move onto the podium by less than one second.
Leopard Trek also looked in contention for a strong finish but could not unseat either of the top two teams, instead slotting into fourth place just six tenths of a second ahead of HTC-Highroad.
The team time trial did not play into the hands of overnight race leader Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto), who lost the yellow jersey as his team came home 39 seconds down on Hushovd after a valiant effort.
Arguably an even bigger loser on the day was Alberto Contador (Saxo Bank-Sungard) who lost yet more time in the defence of his yellow jersey after a disastrous first stage.
The Spaniard dropped a further 28 seconds to the race leader after his team had the unfortunate task of being first out of the blocks, setting an early marker time of 25:16.
Rabobank emerged as the first real rivals to the squad of Contador, maintaining a four second gap through the first two intermediate splits before eventually crossing the line 16 seconds up and a time that would ultimately be good enough for seventh.
Speaking after the stage after moving into yellow, world champion Hushovd admitted that he was overjoyed with the effort his team had put in, admitting, "It's great - we did a really good team effort today and everything just worked perfect. All the riders worked 100 per cent for the team and this is just incredible.
"To think that ten years ago I won the same team time trial is crazy. It's an incredible day for me and the whole team.
"I am proud to be at the Tour with the rainbow jersey but to now to put on yellow is just an incredible start for me."