Orica Greenedge won the team time trial Tuesday on the fourth stage of the Tour de France to put veteran Australian rider Simon Gerrans in the race leaders yellow jersey.
Considered an outsider to win the 25-kilometre dash along the streets of the southern seaport of Nice,Orica just beat early pacesetter Omega Pharma-Quickstep with the top four teams finishing within 10 seconds of each other. Orica finished in a provisional time of 26 minutes,25 seconds.
The 33-year-old Gerrans,who won Mondays third stage in a sprint finish,takes over the overall lead from Belgian rider Jan Bakelants. The Orica riders formed a circle and then hugged and slapped each other on the back when they were sure of the win. Tour favorite Chris Froomes Sky team finished third ahead of rival Alberto Contadors Saxo-Tinkoff.
Bakelants lost the leaders jersey because his RadioShack team finished way behind. He narrowly avoided a crash as he went close to hitting some railings.
Froome is three seconds behind Gerrans,who is not considered a Tour challenger,and two-time Tour champion Contador is six seconds behind Froome.
The peloton returned to mainland France after three stages in the searing heat and sinewy climbs of Corsica.
Under sunny blue skies,the teams set off at four-minute intervals and the overall team standings were reversed,meaning the first team to go was Argos-Shimano and the last team down the ramp was RadioShack.
The Argos-Shimano team,including Marcel Kittel the German who won the Tours hectic first stage on Saturday set off first. But Omega did the early damage,setting a ferociously quick time despite the fact their best rider Tony Martin was carrying the raw scars of his fall on stage 1.
Garmin-Sharp were again among the favorites and set off with high hopes of placing David Millar in the yellow jersey. But they finished in sixth place,and Millar blamed himself. I wasnt in good form today but the team was very,very strong, the 36-year-old Millar said. I think it was me who was missing the (16) seconds.
There were some banged up riders taking part,too,with Martin and Geraint Thomas saddling up despite nursing some nasty injuries after crashing on stage one.