Wiggins stays in command

Wiggins stays in command

Bradley Wiggins tightened his grip on the Tour de France yellow jersey on Thursday after reigning champion Cadel Evans gambled and lost, leaving most of his hopes on the slopes of the 11th stage.

The Australian boldly attacked with 65km to go, hoping to catch the Briton and his team off guard, but it was a ploy that backfired as Evans lost one minute 26 seconds to Wiggins.

Overall, he is now a massive 3:19 behind the Team Sky leader with the Pyrenees and a 53.5km individual time trial to come in the third week of the Tour.

“Once Cadel got dropped and we were in that little group, the sense of relief was overwhelming really. We took much more time on Cadel than we ever expected this morning,” Wiggins said.

Evans's BMC team director John Lelangue acknowledged his leader's chances had faded on the flanks of the Croix de Fer pass.

“It's getting more and more complicated. More than three minutes, it's complicated also knowing there is a time trial at the end and there are not so many big mountain finishes remaining.”

Wiggins now leads compatriot Chris Froome by 2:05 overall, the first time two Britons have ever led the world's greatest cycling event and a striking illustration of Team Sky's domination of the race.

Yet Froome, who also finished third in the stage behind breakaway winner Pierre Rolland and fellow Frenchman Thibaut Pinot, again appeared to be in an awkward situation as both a domestique and a potential rival to his leader.

The Kenyan-born Froome, winner of the first mountain stage of this Tour in the seventh stage, was even seen surging with four km to go amidst confusion about whether he was helping Wiggins or fending for himself.

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