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Team Sky enjoyed the finest day so far in their short history as Chris Froome claimed a spectacular win on stage seven of the Tour de France and Bradley Wiggins finished third to move into the leader's yellow jersey.
The 199 kilometres route from Tomblaine to La Planche des Belles Filles finished with the first big climb of the race and Team Sky put down a stunning marker to the rest of the field.
Coming into the foot of the 5.9km ascent, which had an average gradient of 8.5%, Edvald Boasson Hagen took up the pacesetting on the front of the peloton, with team-mates Michael Rogers, Richie Porte, Froome and Wiggins right behind him.
The fierce pace and the gradient combined to split the bunch in two and by the time Porte came to the head of affairs, the front group had been reduced to just eight men.
It was soon down to five, with reigning champion Cadel Evans (BMC Racing), Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas-Cannondale) and Rein Taaramae (Cofidis) the only riders able to stay with Froome and Wiggins.
And on the steepest final part of the climb it was Froome who kicked clear to claim the biggest success of his career in fantastic style, with Evans and Wiggins taking second and third respectively.
It all means that Wiggins now leads the overall standings by 10 seconds from Evans, with Nibali a further six seconds back in third.
Wiggins is only the fifth Briton to don the maillot jaune, following Tom Simpson (1962), Chris Boardman (1994, 1997 and 1998), Sean Yates (1994) and David Millar (2000).
Teamsky.com spoke to the new leader on General Classification, Bradley Wiggins shortly after the race: "It’s an incredible feeling to have done what we’ve done and it hasn’t sunk in yet. It sounds corny but this is something I’ve dreamt of since I was a child – sat on the home trainer in Kilburn watching my hero Miguel Indurain do it. Those dreams have come true now and I’m sat here at the top of a mountain in yellow. It’s phenomenal.
"We’ve trained for performances like that all year and on the climb I was shouting at Froomey with 1.5km to go to save a little bit because he didn’t need to go any harder. I knew he could win the stage if he just kept a little bit back and it was a great finish for him.
"My priority was to watch Cadel because I knew I was going to take yellow. It’s fantastic – Froomey’s taken the stage and is King of the Mountains, and I’m in yellow, so it was an incredible day.”
Dave Brailsford, Team Sky Team Principal and British Cycling's Performance Director enthused on a phenomenal day's events: “It was a fantastic ride from beginning to end today. Mick and Richie were superb on the climb and Froomey was awesome again. The fact he won the stage is absolutely brilliant. As a performance it was very pleasing and one of the best days we’ve had as a team.
“After our two previous Tours de France – the first one not being so positive, the second one much better – to finally wear the yellow jersey is a very big moment for a team. That’s happened now and you can never take it away. It’s a key milestone and it’s very rewarding.
“The race is far from over but we should stop and enjoy this moment. These things can come and go very quickly as I’ve learnt over the years. It is time to take stock and reflect a little bit on what we’ve achieved.”
Results after stage 7
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 4:58:35
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:02
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
4 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:07
5 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:00:19
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:44
7 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:46
8 Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Astana Pro Team
9 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:50
10 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:56
100 Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team 0:09:16
107 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Sharp
General Glassifaction after stage 7
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling 34:21:20
2 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 0:00:10
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:16
4 Rein Taaramae (Est) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne 0:00:32
5 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team 0:00:54
6 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:59
7 Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan 0:01:09
8 Nicolas Roche (Irl) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:22
9 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:01:32
10 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:01:40
89 Stephen Cummings (GBr) BMC Racing Team 0:21:20
116 David Millar (GBr) Garmin - Sharp 0:35:40