Wiggins secures yellow jersey

07 July 2012 / 17:52

Bradley Wiggins took possession of cycling's Tour de France race leader's yellow jersey after a dominant performance from Team Sky, capped by a stage-seven success for fellow Team GB Olympian Chris Froome.

Wiggins was third on the 199-kilometre route from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles as Froome triumphed by two seconds from defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).

The result saw Wiggins become the fifth Briton to don the maillot jaune and the first since David Millar in 2000.

Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Nissan) won the opening prologue in Liege last Saturday and entered the seventh stage with an advantage of seven seconds over Wiggins, with Evans 10 seconds further adrift, but crumbled, finishing almost two minutes behind.

The overall standings showed Wiggins in possession of a 10-second lead over Evans, with Vincenzo Nibali 16 seconds adrift in third and Froome up to ninth, one minute 32 seconds adrift.

The day's seven-man escape was caught on the lower slopes of the 5.9km finishing ascent to La Planches des Belles Filles, with Team Sky squad leading the peloton. Christian Knees and Edvald Boasson Hagen led the British squad to the lower slopes of the final climb and Michael Rogers took over, before Richie Porte forged on.

When Porte had done his turn, Froome maintained the pace, with Wiggins on his wheel and Evans shadowing him throughout.

The relentless pace reduced the group to five, Froome followed by Wiggins, Evans, Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Rein Taaramae (Cofidis).

Australian Evans accelerated away with one kilometre to go and Froome, Wiggins and Nibali went with him.

Froome then summoned the energy to overtake Evans and dart for the line for a stunning first Tour stage win. There was an even greater prize for Wiggins, who justified his pre-Tour favourite billing after wins in the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine stage races.