Bradley Wiggins Takes Overall Lead in 2012 Tour de France

News & Results

07/7/2012| 0 comments
by AP and Roadcycling.com
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky Procycling) leads the Tour de France overall, ahead of Team BMC Racing's Cadel Evans. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.
Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky Procycling) leads the Tour de France overall, ahead of Team BMC Racing's Cadel Evans. Photo Fotoreporter Sirotti.

Bradley Wiggins Takes Overall Lead in 2012 Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins gave Great Britain its first Tour de France leader in 12 years on Saturday, wresting the yellow jersey from Fabian Cancellara after being helped by a powerful escort in the race's mountain debut.

I could anticipate it thanks to the turn and gain some speed to launch the sprint, but he had the legs and overtook me."

The 35-year-old Australian senses he's in for a challenge from Sky.

"With Wiggins on a team like that, it's going to be difficult," Evans said.

Froome, who took the polka-dot jersey as the Tour's best climber, said he was surprised Evans couldn't keep pace. The Australian was puffing and his face glistening with sweat as he crossed the finish.

"I kept waiting for him to go, but he never really went. To me that says one thing - that he didn't have the legs," Froome said. "It really wasn't a big acceleration that I put in. I went for it and just coasted toward the line.

"Hopefully he's not holding anything back, and he's not going to surprise us in the next few days," Froome said. "I think that he and Bradley looked to be quite on par."

Wiggins said he was focusing on Evans.

"You saw it today, Cadel never gives up," Wiggins said.

General classification challenger Levi Leipheimer delivered a disappointing performance in today's stage.

"Already before the final climb started there was a small climb before it, and I felt like I was at my max there. I couldn't jump out of the corner and hold the wheel. At the bottom of the climb it was already splitting up and I wasn't at the front," Leipheimer explained after crossing the finish line.

"I just didn't feel like I had the power today. Just felt like a bad day. I hope it's my only one. You know it's the first big climb of the Tour. We were really blazing towards it, super fast. It was aggressive, a lot of stop and go, accelerating. That kind of killed my legs," Leipheimer added.

The stage marked the first of three summit finishes in this 99th Tour. Nimbler mountain specialists seized the limelight after a first week dominated by sprinters across the flatter regions of Belgium - where the race began June 30 - and northern France.

The final ascent, at 5.9 kilometers, was relatively short as far as the Tour's biggest climbs go. But it was steep, with a grueling 14-percent gradient in the last 500 meters.

Seven riders broke away from the pack after 15 kilometers and held the lead until the start of the final climb. Team Sky then pressed the peloton's pace before overtaking.

Giro champion Ryder Hesjedal of Canada pulled out before the stage after being injured in a multi-rider crash yesterday.

The three-week Tour de France takes the peloton on another bumpy ride on Sunday, with seven category 1 and 2 climbs in the 157.5-kilometer course from Belfort to Porrentruy.

Read on to get the same cycling training diary as stage winner Chris Froome and Tour leader Bradley Wiggins. Follow Roadcycling.com on Twitter and Facebook to receive daily Tour de France news updates automatically. Sign up for your own feature-filled Roadcycling.com/TrainingPeaks-powered cycling training diary here - it's used by pro teams in the

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