Tour de France: Bradley Wiggins takes lead after 7 stages | Cycling
Sky Procycling's Bradley Wiggins of Britain was in the leader's yellow jersey after the seventh stage of the Tour de France. Christopher Froome won the stage.
The Associated Press
LA PLANCHE DES BELLES FILLES, France — With two weeks left in the Tour de France, the two-man showdown many predicted is taking shape, with Sky Procycling's Bradley Wiggins of Britain already in the yellow jersey — and driver's seat — while BMC Racing's Cadel Evans isn't.
Sky Procycling's Christopher Froome of Britain won the seventh stage, finishing two seconds in front of Australian Evans, who is the defending champion, and Wiggins.
Froome finished the 123.7-mile ride from Tomblaine to the ski resort of La Planche des Belles Filles in 4 hours, 58 minutes, 35 seconds.
Wiggins took the leader's yellow jersey from RadioShack-Nissan rider Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland.
Cancellara was 20th in the stage and dropped to 11th in the overall standings, 1 minute, 43 seconds behind Wiggins.
"It's a great day for the team, we won the stage and took the yellow jersey," Wiggins said in French.
Second-place Evans is 10 seconds behind Wiggins and six seconds in front of third-place Vincenzo Nibali, an Italian who competes for the Liquigas-Cannondale team.
Asked if the Tour was a two-man race, Wiggins said, "It's looking that way."
Wiggins is the first rider from Britain to wear the yellow jersey in 12 years — and the first for Sky.
As the pack disintegrated on the final climb, Evans tried an attack before an exceptionally steep patch in the last half-mile, but Froome beat him and made it look relatively easy.
Wiggins, a three-time Olympic track-cycling gold medalist looking to become Britain's first Tour de France champion, became the prerace favorite after winning the Paris-Nice, Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine stage races this year.
With two time trials and more climbing days in the Alps and Pyrenees still to come, Wiggins played down speculation he might have taken the lead too early with the finish in Paris on July 22.
"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 hospital — like half the peloton," he said, referring to injuries from crashes in recent days.
• Thirteen riders dropped out because of injuries suffered in two spills Friday, bringing the number of withdrawals to 17 — the highest number through seven stages since 1998.
One of them was Garmin-Sharp's Ryder Hesjedal, a Canadian who won the Giro d'Italia in May.