World champion Thor Hushovd took over the Tour de France yellow jersey from Belgium’s Philippe Gilbert as Garmin-Cervelo triumphed for the first time on the race’s second stage on Sunday.
Hushovd’s Garmin team, one of the favorites for the 23km team time trial, set a winning time of 24 minutes, 48 seconds in the punishing event to beat the BMC team of Australia’s Cadel Evans into second place by four seconds.
British outfit Team Sky, who had been poised to put Welshman Geraint Thomas into the race lead, finished third just behind BMC, also four seconds back.
Hushovd had finished third, six seconds behind Gilbert on the opening stage and pulls on the race leader’s jersey by virtue of being his team’s best placed rider on Saturday.
In the overall standings, the Norwegian has the same time as Scottish teammate David Millar, with Evans in third place, one second back.
While the Omega-Pharma team stuck to the form book by failing to keep Gilbert in the yellow jersey, Garmin celebrated as a team on the podium where they hoisted team manager Jonathan Vaughters into the air.
It is the first victory of any kind on the race for Garmin, who merged with Hushovd’s former team Cervelo at the start of the season.
Olympic champion Bradley Wiggins admitted they were disappointed not to win, but happy at taking more time off key rivals such as reigning champion Alberto Contador, whose Saxo Bank outfit were eighth, 28 seconds back.
BMC came even closer, Evans taking big turns at the front throughout the mainly flat course, before leading his team over the finish line slightly quicker than Sky.
Despite missing out on the yellow jersey, Evans will be glad with his result as Spain’s Contador, who lost 1 minute, 14 seconds to his rivals because of a crash on Saturday, dropped further down the overall standings to 75th, 1 minute, 42 seconds behind Hushovd.
Crucially, he is now respectively 1 minute, 41 seconds and 1 minute, 38 seconds behind Evans and Andy Schleck.
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