Australian Simon Gerrans claimed the leader's yellow jersey after his Orica GreenEdge side snatched a team time-trial victory at stage four of the Tour de France.
Orica GreenEdge completed the course in 25 minutes 56 seconds to beat Mark Cavendish's Omega Pharma-Quick-Step team by one second.
Britain's Team Sky took third place, crossing the finish line just three seconds behind the winners and six in front of the SaxoBank Tintoff side, who finished in fourth.
Geraint Thomas, who was riding with a broken pelvis, was dropped by his Sky team-mates in the last kilometre and would have definitely posted a quicker time had he been able to finish the race.
Chris Froome's lead over Contador increases to 17 seconds following the result, but at this early stage it means precious little.
Froome and Team Sky will be happy with the standings having increased their lead over their rivals without winning the yellow jersey.
The responsibility to defend it and control the race is now on Simon Gerrans and his team. Sky now find themselves in a very strong position as the Tour contenders prepare for the high mountains at the weekend, but before that is an intermediate stage from Cagnes-sur-Mer to Marseille for tomorrow's course.
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