Saturday, June 23, 2018
Sports

Britain's Wiggins seizes lead in mountains

LA PLANCHE DES BELLES FILLES, France — With two weeks left in the Tour de France, the two-man showdown that many had predicted is taking shape. Britain's Bradley Wiggins is wearing the yellow jersey — and in the driver's seat — and Australia's Cadel Evans isn't.

Wiggins, 31, and his Team Sky dominated the race's first summit finish Saturday, with Christophe Froome winning Stage 7 ahead of Evans and Wiggins close on the defending champion's back wheel.

In the 123-mile trek from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles, Wiggins took the overall lead from Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara and gave Britain its first yellow jersey in 12 years, and the first for Sky.

"It's incredible," Wiggins said in French. "It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid."

As the pack disintegrated on the final climb, Evans tried an attack just before the supersteep patch in the last half-mile, but Froome beat him easily.

Cancellara, a time-trial and one-day classics specialist who had worn yellow since winning the prologue a week ago, was 1 minute, 52 seconds behind Froome and fell 1:43 behind Wiggins overall. Wiggins, who began the day in second, 7 seconds behind Cancellara, led Evans by 10 seconds.

Wiggins, a three-time Olympic track gold medalist looking to become Britain's first Tour champion, became the prerace favorite after winning the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine stage races this year.

"You can't get too cocky in this race and choose when you take the yellow jersey. I'd much rather be in yellow than in (the) hospital, like half the peloton," he said, referring to injuries from crashes in recent days.

Giro d'Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal of Canada withdrew, a day after sustaining left leg and hip injuries in a crash involving almost two dozen riders.

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