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Tour de France

Tour de France stage seven: photo gallery

Stage seven of the 2012 Tour de France will be remembered as one that changed the course of the race, regardless of its final outcome. 

Two dominant team performances, one unexpected (a beleaguered Garmin-Barracuda-Sharp team refusing to accept the cruel blows of fate) and one entirely expected (a dominant Team Sky seizing control on the final climb), set the race alight on the final climb of La Planche de Belle Filles.

Like cowboys called to a shoot out a high noon, Wiggins and Evans came together as if fated in the final 10 kilometres, with Evans the first to blink by launching an attack as they passed under the one kilometre to go kite.

But it was Chris Froome who stole the thunder of both by powering past Evans. On another day, it would have guranteed him the headlines. Wiggins’ eleveation to the leader of the Tour de France, and custodian of the yellow jersey, was a still greater achievement.

When the history of British cycling is written (again) today’s stage should feature prominently.

Peter Sagan may have won three stages on the flat, but when the road kicked upwards, he went backwards

Fabian Cancellara put up a brave defence of his yellow jersey, but the stage ended with a change in the race lead

Vincenzo Nibali confirmed his status as GC contender by remaining with Evans, Wiggins, and Froome in the closing kilometres

Evans and Wiggins were expected to go head-to-head on stage seven and like cowboys called to a gun fight at high noon, squared off in a sprint for the line

Wiggins celebrates pulling on the yellow jersey of Tour de France leader for the first time in his career

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