It was all about the team for Thomas, though, even if he missed out on the yellow jersey by three seconds.
Cholet: "I'm rapt as dunny paper with that one, it was a super ride by the boys", said a justifiably elated Richie Porte after the Australian and his teammates got his Tour de France campaign back on track with an impressive stage three team time trial win on Monday.
But the two key mountain challenges are a brutal, uphill 31km individual time trial and a short, sharp shock of a 17th stage with just 65km, featuring 25km of hair-raising descents and 38km of climbs to a summit finish at the Col de Portet in the southwest.
The Solvakian's Bora Hansgrohe team finished in seventh spot, 50 seconds down on the stage winners, but he will wear the green jersey on stage four.
Among those to take advantage were two riders who lost 51 seconds to some of their rivals on Saturday, Adam Yates, whose Mitchelton-Scott team were first off the ramp this afternoon, as well as defending champion Chris Froome, with Team Sky the next to start.
Froome was squeezed out of the road and ended up on his backside in a field with around 6km to go to the end of the stage.
Yates and Froome sit in 81st and 84th places respectively, 67 seconds off yellow but more concerned about the 51 second gap to the likes of Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale), Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) and Mikel Landa (Movistar).
"We knew the first days were going to be tricky, what happened is part of the game", said the 33-year-old who had a skinned knee and some possible bruising on his right shoulder after his head over heels fall.
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It was also a very satisfying day for Froome, the Kenyan-born Briton ignoring some booing at the start line and making up some of the valuable time he lost on Saturday's first stage.
At his post-race media conference, Gaviria added: "It's been an awesome day, I've dreamt of this victory and the possibility of taking the yellow jersey". They were only seven seconds back and on a similar trajectory to us so you do have to wait. "You have to step up and deliver on the day and that's not an easy thing to do on a Tour de France team time trial stage".
Froome avoided a repeat of his first stage tumble, the Team Sky leader staying out of trouble as he goes in pursuit of a record-equalling fifth Tour triumph. Martin and his team-mates lost 2-28 minutes to Team Sky and slightly less to the other top teams and riders.
Lawson Craddock, one of five Americans in the race, crashed in a feeding zone midway through the stage and continued with blood streaming down his face.
"You probably won't believe me but I didn't even think about it", he said of yellow.
"It's about what I expected, we thought we'd lose a bit to Froome and we lost a bit to Froome", said the dry-witted Quintana.
There was a festive family atmosphere on the mainly coastal route, which was well marshaled by a massive police presence that organizers hope will deter fans targeting Froome, who was only cleared to race last week after long-running suspicions of doping were put to bed. "It just shows that we are here, too, and let's get it on".
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