Spoiler: Crashes and an Upset Win at TDF TTT

Several pre-race favorite lose time

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Orica-GreenEdge took the win in today’s team time trial over Omega Pharma-Quick Step, vaunting stage 3 winner Simon Gerrans into the yellow jersey. Team Sky held on for third, three seconds down on Orica-GreenEdge, moving Chris Froome to the top of the standings among favorite for the overall title. Team Katusha conceded 25 seconds to Sky, making pre-race favorite Joaquim Rodriguez the biggest loser of the day.

The time gaps are small, but having climbing specialists Alberto Contador and Rodriguez behind him in the GC gives Froome a crucial advantage. Both riders, along with Cadel Evans, who also lost time on today’s stage, will be forced to attack Froome, while he’ll be able to use his team to defend his lead.

As the pre-race stage favorite, Team Sky was expected to put more distance between themselves and the other teams, but was hampered by Geraint Thomas’ pelvis fracture. The rider, who is ordinarily a powerhouse in time trials, was left struggling on the stage.

There’s never an uneventful stage at the Tour, and key Contador lieutenant Benjamin Noval is heading to the hospital following a crash in the stage. Meanwhile, American Ted King is out of the Tour. There is some confusion surrounding the race jury’s decision. King clocked his finish at 32:24 (and posted a power file on Twitter supporting his claim), while the Tour’s results sheet lists him finishing at 32:32, outside the cut-off.

King chose to race his road bike rather than a dedicated time trial bike after separating his shoulder earlier this week, and the official timing chip was not transferred over to his road machine from his time trial bike before the stage. Because of the bike change, there is no automated record of King crossing the line, but the Tour officials say he missed the cut-off.

“They didn’t want to listen to our explanation. Ted was racing with a shoulder injury, and he raced with a road bike. He was very brave. He did not stop fighting. Those are the qualities of cycling, yet they did not want to change their minds,” said Cannondale spokesman Paolo Barbieri told VeloNews. “It is Ted’s dream to race the Tour. We cannot believe it.”

On Twitter, popular pro Jens Voigt has taken King’s side, saying he should be allowed to start the next stage. A rule is in place allowing “one or several particularly unlucky riders” to continue even after missing the cut-off, but Tour officials are reluctant to apply it to King for unknown reasons.

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