Wiggins retains yellow jersey

Bradley Wiggins of Team Sky kept a firm grasp on the yellow jersey and positioned himself as the likeliest rider to succeed Cadel Evans as Tour De France champion. Pierre Rolland won the Albertville to La Toussuire stage, but Wiggins defied those who had believed his lead would be eroded.

Towards the end, the biggest danger to Wiggins appeared to be his Team Sky colleague Chris Froome who had plenty left in the tank, but followed team orders in hanging back to support Wiggins.

With 5km remaining Froome launched an attack, which surprised many onlookers, particularly when Wiggins was unable to go with his team-mate. Froome was quickly given instructions to drop back and stay with the team leader. Less than a kilometre from the end, with Wiggins’s lead safe, Froome was allowed to sprint again, taking second place in the overall classification.

The Sky team boss Dave Brailsford was asked after the stage if Froome would be a contender to win the Tour if he raced for a rival team rather than Sky. "That's a highly hypothetical question," Brailsford replied. "We'll never be able to answer it. But we've got first and second in the general classification, which is the perfect position to be in."

Froome, a reticent and calm personality compared to Wiggins, wasn’t complaining. "I'll follow orders at all costs," Froome said. "I'm part of a team and I have to do what the team asks me to do. Our plan is to look after Bradley. He's just as strong as me, I think, and stronger than me in the time trial."

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