Hushovd takes Tour de France lead

Thor Hushovd (left) leads his team in the time trial

Hushovd (left) leads his team in the time trial stage

Team Garmin-Cervelo won the 23km team time trial to claim their first Tour de France stage win and put Thor Hushovd in the yellow jersey after two legs.

The Norwegian’s team recorded a time of 24 minutes, 48 seconds to beat BMC Racing and Team Sky by four seconds.

Scotland’s David Millar is second overall, on the same time as his team-mate Hushovd, while Cadel Evans of BMC lies one second behind in third.

Geraint Thomas of Team Sky moved up to fourth in the general classification.

The British-based team had hoped to propel Thomas into the yellow jersey after the 25-year-old’s sixth-placed finish on Saturday’s opening stage left him just six seconds behind race leader Philippe Gilbert.

Team Sky, which includes Thomas’ fellow Olympic track pursuit gold medallist Bradley Wiggins, started their time trial quickly and recorded the quickest time of nine minutes, one second at the nine kilometres checkpoint.

But they were unable to keep up their pace and finished four seconds down.

“We attacked it like we said we would, and it was a great effort by everyone,” said Thomas.

“We rode it well. We knew we were up [after the first checkpoint] but it wasn’t even a second and we lost two guys quite early.

“We are a bit disappointed as we really wanted to win but Brad [Wiggins] is still up there in the general classification and that’s what matters.”

Wiggins is 12th in the overall standings and, along with Thomas, just four seconds behind leader Hushovd.

“Today wasn’t about egos, it was about the performance of the team,” he stated.

“It was about getting the maximum out of every rider and my role was to keep the pace in the final run-in against the wind.

“When you come away knowing there is nothing more you could have done, there is no disappointment.

“We gained more time on some of the guys and it’s been a fantastic start to this year’s Tour. G [Geraint Thomas] was hungry and that’s the only tinge of disappointment, that he didn’t get the [yellow] jersey.”

Andy Schleck’s Leopard Trek team and Mark Cavendish’s HTC-Highroad squad were five seconds behind Garmin-Cervelo, with Alberto Contador’s Saxo Bank-SunGard squad eighth, 28 seconds behind.

The result means that three-time winner, and pre-race favourite Contador, is now one minute, 42 seconds adrfit of Hushovd.

More to follow.

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