Wiggins stays in yellow
July 8, 2012 16:50 pm
France's Thibaut Pinot won stage eight of the Tour de France in Porrentruy as Team GB cyclist Bradley Wiggins retained the race leader's yellow jersey under attack from defending champion Cadel Evans.
The 157.5-kilometre route from Belfort saw the peloton make a brief sojourn to the finish in Switzerland and Pinot (FDJ-Bigmat) won by 26 seconds from Evans (BMC Racing), with Tony Gallopin (RadioShack-Nissan) third and Wiggins (Team Sky) fourth.
Australian Evans attempted to gain vital seconds in the closing moments of the stage, but Wiggins had enough strength to follow every revolution and maintain his 10secs lead.
Wiggins became the fifth Briton to don the maillot jaune on stage seven, won by Team Sky colleague Chris Froome, and will enter Monday's 41.5km time-trial to Besancon seeking to gain further time in his bid for victory in Paris on July 22.
Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) stayed third, 16secs adrift, after placing fifth on the stage.
Wearing yellow was not unfamiliar to Wiggins - the triple Olympic champion won the yellow jersey at the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine stage races this season - but it was his first time as leader of cycling's most prestigious race.
The 32-year-old Londoner was the fifth Briton to wear the fabled maillot jaune at the Tour and first since David Millar in 2000, emulating the Scot's achievement of leading all three Grand Tours.
With 4km to go, Pinot had a 40-second advantage as breakaway leader Fredrik Kessiakoff was caught by the chase group. Then Evans joined Van den Broeck in attacking in the final 2km as Pinot soloed to victory.
Wiggins was able to counter the Australian's attack, though, and finished in a group of eight, with Froome also present.
Froome moved from ninth to sixth overall.
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