BRADLEY WIGGINS STAVED off the first challenges to his newly attained yellow jersey on Stage Eight of this year’s Tour de France.
The Belgian-born Wiggins, who grew up in London, defended the leader’s yellow jersey on the race’s second day in the hills.
Frenchman Thibaut Pinot of FDJ took the stage victory, a maiden tour win on what is his debut, after 157.5 km of racing over several short but steep climbs in the Swiss Jura that exacted a toll on the peloton.
Defending champion Cadel Evans (BMC) finished second, some 26 seconds behind. The Australian lead home a select group after a failed attempt to shake off Wiggins on the way to the last summit and on the 16 km descent to the finish.
Among the finishers with Evans was Italian rival Vincenzo Nibali, Frank Schleck of Luxembourg and Belgian Jurgen Van den Broeck.
First day in yellow
Wiggins, spending his first day in the yellow jersey after his third place finish on Saturday at La Planche des Belles Filles, retained his 10 second lead on second placed Evans with Nibali still third, a further six seconds back.
Pinot, a climbing specialist who at 22-years-old is the youngest rider in this year’s race, was a late call-up for the three-week epic by manager Marc Madiot.
Earlier in the day there was injury and heartache for Spain’s Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez who crashed badly.
Sanchez suffered shoulder and hand injuries that could rule him out of the London Olympics later this month.