Bradley Wiggins took over the Tour de France race leader’s yellow jersey on Saturday on the first mountain stage to La Planche des Belles Filles.

“It’s f**king nice! I always dreamt of it,” Wiggins said post-stage. “I realise the position I’m in now and I have the utmost respect for it. It’s something I’m looking to keep.”

After a dominant ride by his Sky team, including a stage win by Chris Froome, he leads the overall classification by 10 seconds over Cadel Evans (BMC Racing). Two weeks remain in the race, including a mountain stage on Sunday to Porrentruy.

Judging by the work of Froome, Richie Porte and Mick Rogers in the mountains, Wiggins looks ready to defend his lead at least until Monday’s time trial.

“The team was great as they have been the whole year,” Wiggins explained. “Froome winning the stage just topped it all off for us.”

Froome took over at 2.1km out. Before, Australian Richie Porte paced the group up the climb and helped shell several top rivals, including Denis Menchov (Katusha).

“I was surprised there was so much damage today. We didn’t really go 100 per cent to get to the summit. Cadel was always going to be the one and that’s still no different.”

If Wiggins makes it through Monday’s time trial still in the lead, he can enjoy a rest and plan the final two weeks of the race. He said that he has no thoughts of letting the jersey go, even if for a few days.

“You can’t get cocky and choose when you take the yellow,” he added. “I feel fortunate just to get through the first week to be here, I’d much rather be yellow than in the hospital.”

Giro d’Italia winner, Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp) didn’t start today due to injuries sustained in a mega-crash yesterday. A situation Wiggins is familiar with, having to abandon last year’s Tour in the seventh leg.

Wiggins questioned a Belgian journalist about his country’s star, Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol). His chain dropped and he lost time. Denis Menchov (Katusha) and Levi Leipheimer (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) also lost time, suffering from Sky’s rhythm on the final climb.

It’s a three-horse race, according to Wiggins. He, Evans and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) are the likely challengers to the overall win when the race ends in Paris on July 22.

“The Tour’s coming down to three riders: myself, Evans and Nibali,” he continued.

“Is it a Wiggins Tour? That’s the way it’s been tapped from the start. There was also Nibali and Rein Taaramäe there. But it’s looking that way.”

Tour de France 2012: Latest news



Dislocated shoulder hinders Greipel sprint



Hesjedal may be out of Tour after Garmin suffer in crash



Stage seven video preview



The Feed Zone: Tour news round-up (July 5)



Celebrating the Tour’s lead-out men



Liquigas’s yellow and green jersey aim at Tour



Brailsford: Sky on the front for Cav and Wiggins



Fourth Tour crash for Farrar



Greipel on a roll at the Tour



Cavendish and Eisel expected to continue after stage four crash



Injury report: Tour stage four



Garmin-Sharp adjust Tour de France plans after injury problems



Sky down to eight after Siutsou crash


Tour de France 2012: Teams, riders, start list



Tour 2012: Who will win?



Tour de France 2012 provisional start list



Tour de France 2012 team list

Tour de France 2012: Stage reports



Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage



Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage



Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades



Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes



Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne



Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory



Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt



Prologue: Cancellara wins, Wiggins second

Tour de France 2012: Comment, analysis, blogs



Analysis: How much time could Wiggins gain in Tour’s time trials



CW’s Tour de France podcasts



Blog: Tour presentation – chasing dreams and autographs



Comment: Cavendish the climber

Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries



Stage seven by Graham Watson



Stage six by Graham Watson



Stage five by Graham Watson



Stage four by Graham Watson



Stage three by Graham Watson



Stage two by Andy Jones



Stage two by Graham Watson



Stage one by Graham Watson



Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones



Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler



Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson



Tour de France 2012: Team presentation



Sky and Rabobank Tour de France recce

Tour de France 2012: Live text coverage



Stage six live coverage



Stage five live coverage



Stage four live coverage



Stage three live coverage



Cycling Weekly’s live text coverage schedule

Tour de France 2012: TV schedule

ITV4 live schedule

British Eurosport live schedule

Tour de France 2012: Related links



Brits in the Tours: From Robinson to Cavendish



Brief history of the Tour de France



Tour de France 2011: Cycling Weekly’s coverage index



1989: The Greatest Tour de France ever

 

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  • dai bananas brother

    Dai’s missus says she is very pleased for him , in spite of the scruffy-looking socks, and says that all that time he was riding back and forth to the pub in Chapel en le wherever it was must be paying off, There is an awful steep hill up to Buxton from there on the back road. She has found the diet that the champion Cardiff rugby team from the ’50s used and suggests that the Sky team start eating kippers at least once a week for supper. No bread, nothing else, just grilled kippers. Cardiff beat the All Blacks on the back of this