- Tour de France, Stage Seven
Froome storms home as Sky blow Tour open
Team Sky blew the Tour de France wide open on the first serious day in the mountains as they shot out a host of big names as Chris Froome landed the stage into La Planche des Belles Filles, while Bradley Wiggins took over in the race lead.
The stage from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles produced a hilltop finish and Sky powered their way up the hill. The tempo shattered the hopes of a number of leading names and at the top only four riders, Froome and his Sky leader Bradley Wiggins, Vincenzo Nibali and Cadel Evans were in contention.
Defending champion Evans jumped off the front with 500 metres to go, but was hauled in by Froome who shot away to claim the stage.
La Planche des Belles Filles is not a long climb, but the 5.9km are some of the most punishing terrain in the race and a large group that came to the foot of the climb were spread all over the road by the finish.
Michael Rogers and Richie Porte set the tempo for Sky, before Froome took over with 3kms to run. It was a decisive move from Sky as it tested the mettle of a series of big names. The likes of Franck Schleck, Jurgen van den Broecke and Denis Menchov had no answers.
Evans looked to make a statement by dashing away, but he was hauled in by Froome and shadowed by Wiggins all the way to the line.
Wiggins looked comfortable all the way up and it took him into yellow, 10 seconds ahead of Evans.
Fabien Cancellara's time in yellow came to an end, but he emerged from the stage with credit as he was dropped early on but ground his way up the final climb to limit his losses.
Stage Seven result
1 Chris Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling - 04:58:35
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing - 0:00:02
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling - 0:00:02
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:00:07
5 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis - 0:00:19
6 Haimar Zubeldia (Esp) Radioshack-Nissan-Trek - 0:00:44
7 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Europcar - 0:00:46
8 Janez Brajkovic (Slv) Astana - 0:00:46
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha - 0:00:50
10 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan-Trek - 0:00:56
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling - 34:21:20
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing - 0:00:10
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:00:16
4 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis - 0:00:32
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha - 0:00:54
6 Haimar Zubeldia (Esp) Radioshack-Nissan-Trek - 0:00:59
7 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan-Trek - 0:01:09
8 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2r-La Mondiale - 0:01:22
9 Chris Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling - 00:01:32
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling - 00:01:40