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La Planche des Belles Filles, France – Race favourite Bradley Wiggins took command of the Tour de France Saturday as Sky teammate Christopher Froome secured a deserved maiden victory on stage seven.
Defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia finished second, with Wiggins in third only seconds behind as Sky's pace on the final, 5.9 km climb to the race's first hilltop finish exacted a costly toll on some contenders.
BMC leader Evans, who made a futile bid for the stage win only to be passed by Froome in the final 100 metres, is now second overall at 10sec behind Wiggins.
Italian Vincenzo Nibali of Liquigas, considered the biggest challenger to Evans and Wiggins, is third at 16 with Estonian Rein Taaramae of Cofidis in fourth at 32.
Team Sky came to the race with a number of talented climbers and their high pace-setting from the bottom of the steep climb to the ski station finish line was too much for some.
Former race podium finisher Frank Schleck was among the Radioshack riders dropped relatively early, along with German teammate Andreas Kloden, American Chris Horner and, as expected, overnight race leader Fabian Cancellara.
RadioShack's best placed rider is now Spanish veteran Haimar Zubeldia in fifth at 59.
Nairobi-born Froome's victory, his first on the world's biggest bike race, comes less than a year after a runner-up place at the Tour of Spain. – Sapa-AFP