Froome takes superb stage win as teammate Wiggins claims Tour yellow
July 7, 2012 -- Updated 1706 GMT (0106 HKT)
Chris Froome crosses the line in triumph to win the seventh stage of the 2012 Tour de France.
- Team Sky's Chris Froome wins seventh stage of the Tour de France
- His teammate Bradley Wiggins takes over in the yellow jersey
- First hill top finish of the 2012 race proves decisive
- Defending champion Cadel Evans finishes second on stage
(CNN) -- Kenyan-born Briton Chris Froome won a pivotal seventh stage of the Tour de France Saturday as his teammate Bradley Wiggins took over in the race leader's yellow jersey.
Froome, a noted climber, showed his ability on a steep finish at La Planche des Belles Filles after 199km from Tomblaine.
Despite setting a relentless pace in the final two kilometers, Froome still had the reserves to sprint past defending Tour de France champion Cadel Evans and finish two seconds clear on the line.
Australia's Evans came in second with Team Sky leader Wiggins on his wheel, the race favorite replacing Fabian Cancellara in first place in the overall standings.
Just to be in the yellow, that is something to be savored. It was a childhood dream of mine
BMC star Evans is 10 seconds back in second with Vincenzo Nibali of Italy (Liquigas) a further six seconds adrift.
Nibali came in fourth on the stage with Rein Taaramae of Estonia a fine fifth for Cofidis.
The globalization of the Tour de France
But on the final climb a number of other leading contenders lost more time as Team Sky, with Michael Rogers, Richie Porte and then Froome, set a ferocious pace at the front.
Froome, who finished second in last year's Tour of Spain, has moved up to ninth in the standings after his magnificent ride and will be left to regret the time he lost to a puncture on an earlier stage.
He will be a key support rider for Wiggins, who is bidding to become the first British rider to win cycling's most famous race.
Bradley Wiggins, left, celebrates on the finish line with teammate Michael Rogers of Australia after becoming the first Briton to win the Tour de France on Sunday, July 22, in Paris.
Tour de France 2012: The best photos
"We're in the driving seat," Wiggins told Eurosport.
"We will look to consolidate over the next couple of days, but just to be in the yellow, that is something to be savored. It was a childhood dream of mine."
But he warned that Evans will remain a threat with the race still to enter the high mountains of the Alps and Pyrenees.
"You can never underestimate him, he is an incredible champion. He fought every step and he's never going to give up."
Sunday sees a 157.5km stage from Belfort to Porrentruy in Switzerland, featuring seven categorized climbs, but Wiggins and Evans will probably look to Monday's 41.5km time-trial to Besancon lock horns again in the battle for overall honors.
The repercussions of Friday's mass crash on the stage to Metz became clear before the start of Saturday's leg with Giro d'Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda) among 12 riders to pull out through injury.
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