/ Cycling

Bradley Wiggins has taken possession of the Tour de France race leader's yellow jersey

Updated: Saturday, 07 Jul 2012 17:59 | Comments

Bradley Wiggins secured his first yellow jersey in La Planche des Belles Filles Bradley Wiggins (centre) finished third behind team-mate Chris Froome, but it was enough to carry him to the head of the general classification
Bradley Wiggins secured his first yellow jersey in La Planche des Belles Filles Bradley Wiggins (centre) finished third behind team-mate Chris Froome, but it was enough to carry him to the head of the general classification

Bradley Wiggins took possession of the Tour de France race leader's yellow jersey after a dominant performance from Team Sky today, capped by a stage-seven success for 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.

Nicolas Roche finished in 11th, while Dan Martin was 16th, 1' 06'' and 1' 39" respectively behind Froome.

Roche moves up to eighth overall, 1' 22'' behind Wiggins, while Martin is back in 81st, over 20 minutes behind the leader.

The day's stage began with the peloton counting the cost of the crash 26km from the end of stage six to Metz, with Giro d'Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) among those who abandoned.

Anthony Delaplace (Saur-Sojasun) joined him, taking the total number of withdrawals to 17.

It was the most after seven days' racing since 1998, when the 17 withdrawals included the Festina team who were expelled following a doping scandal.

The best-placed of the day's seven-man escape group was Christophe Riblon (Ag2r La Mondiale), who began the day in 55th place, five minutes four seconds behind Cancellara.

The numbers in the breakaway persuaded Cavendish not to contest the day's intermediate sprint.

The world champion was later seen on domestique duty, returning to the Team Sky support car to retrieve water bottles for his team-mates and carrying them in his rainbow jersey.

Peter Sagan (Liquigas-Cannondale) won the peloton's dash for the line ahead of Matt Goss after the Orica-GreenEdge made a mess of their leadout, as the Slovakian consolidated his lead in the green jersey.

After two category three climbs, the escape had an advantage of three and a half minutes with 30km remaining.

The final climb had an average gradient of 8.5%, but Chris Boardman, one of four previous Britons to wear the maillot jaune, described the final 500 metres as among the steepest he had seen in a road race.

Team Sky and BMC Racing were prominent at the front of the peloton and, despite losing Hesjedal, Garmin-Sharp worked hard to reduce the deficit to the escape, apparently in a bid to help set up Dan Martin.

The breakaway's lead fell to under two minutes with 20km remaining and less than a minute with 12km to go.

Jurgen van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) lost touch at a crucial moment as Team Sky led the pursuit of the escapees, who were caught on the lower ramps of the finishing climb.

Then the first fireworks of the Tour took place as Cancellara was dropped, with Frank Schleck and Sylvain Chavanel (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) among those who followed as Team Sky's tempo decimated the field and they took full advantage.

User contributions and/or comments do not, unless specifically stated, represent the views of RTÉ.ie or RTÉ.
Click here for Terms of use
Powered by NewsWhip