Wiggins looking to keep Tour lead until Paris

Bradley Wiggins in yellow, Tour de France 2012, stage seven

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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