Orica GreenEdge pipped Mark Cavendish's Omega Pharma-Quick Step squad by a
single second to win yesterday's team time trial in the Tour de France and make
it two stage victories in as many days.
The Australian squad - whose bus crashed into the finish to cause chaos on stage one - won their first ever Tour stage on Monday when Simon Gerrans sprinted to victory in Calvi, and they doubled up yesterday 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.
Alberto Contador's Team Saxo-Tinkoff finished in fourth place, nine seconds behind Orica GreenEdge, to keep the Spaniard well in touch with Froome.
If they had found a way to win, Ireland's Nicolas Roche, son of former Tour winner Stephen, would have taken the yellow jersey, but it was not to be.
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, when the peloton were a fraction of a wheel away from recording the same time as stage winner Jan Bakelants - the difference enough to put the Belgian in the maillot jaune ahead of the Scot.
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.
Bakelants and his RadioShack Leopard squad took to the course last but finished 29 seconds back, only good enough for 11th as the Belgian's two-day stint in yellow came to an end.
Gerrans becomes only the sixth Australian to ever wear the yellow jersey, following Phil Anderson, Stuart O'Grady, Brad McGee, Robbie McEwen and Cadel Evans.
Evans, the 2011 winner and an outside contender this year, finished ninth yesterday with his BMC Racing squad, 26 seconds back.
Gerrans is joined by two team-mates at the top of the new-look general classification, with South African Daryl Impey second and Swiss Michael Albasini in third, both on the same time. Omega Pharma- Quick Step's Michal Kwiatkowski, wearing the young rider's white jersey, and team-mate Sylvain Chavanel are fourth and fifth, one second back. Norwegian Edvald Boasson Hagen leads the Team Sky contingent, three seconds back; Froome is seventh and Richie Porte eighth.
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