"The only thing I can really understand from it was that Chris didn't even go to the adverse analytical finding, it didn't even get to that stage, he was asked to explain himself which he got given due process to do and he was cleared by the people that run the sport and doping agency and that's all we really know".
Van Avermaet, who excels at single-day classics, isn't a threat for the overall title but he could keep the lead through the cobblestoned Stage 9 ending in Roubaix.
Richard Moore, Lionel Birnie and François Thomazeau discuss the stage and Peter Sagan's first Tour stage win since his disqualification from last year's race. It was a good test for us and the team. I think there will be a lot more time lost throughout the GC group before we hit the mountains.
"I'm only some 20 seconds behind Froome so it's not that much".
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Geraint Thomas of Sky was third overall, three seconds behind.
Porte may be linked with a switch to the American Trek-Segafredo team next year, but the future of other riders and team staff is uncertain; and in the biggest race of the year, Monday's victory was the medicine they all collectively needed to reaffirm their overriding goal of reaching the finish as the team of the 2018 Tour victor.
The event returned for the first time since 2015, and time trial specialists BMC took full advantage as they set a time of 38 minutes, 46 seconds on the 35.5-kilometre course that started and ended in the town of Cholet in the Pays de la Loire region of France.
"It's a flawless day, I was a bit scared because Sonny was coming back strong", said Sagan, who also wore the yellow jersey in 2016.
The result means that Froome, Porte and Yates were all able to take a chunk of time back after each losing 51 seconds in the dramatic end to stage one on Saturday. "I'm very happy with the other riders".More news: England drop Joe Root but still lose series to India
"It was a goal to get yellow in the first week", said van Avermaet.
The Tour heads into the cycling hotbed of Brittany tomorrow for Stage 4, a mostly flat 195-kilometre leg from La Baule to Sarzeau that starts and ends on the Atlantic coast.
It will be van Avermaet's second stint in yellow after three days in the maillot jaune during the 2016 Tour de France.
The only individual time trial of the race comes in the penultimate stage, over a 31-kilometer route from Saint-Pee-sur-Nivelle to Espelette in the Basque country.More news: UK: Dawn Sturgess dies after exposure to nerve agent Novichok
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