British rider Geraint Thomas won the Tour's first summit finish and also assumed overall leadership of the race. Team Sky asserted its dominance over the field in the Alps, with star rider Chris Froome coming in third.
British Team Sky rider Geraint Thomas attacked near the end of stage 11 on Wednesday, taking control of the leader's yellow jersey with his stage win. His teammate Chris Froome, playing catch-up after early setbacks on the Tour, came in third on the day and moved into second overall, 85 seconds behind Thomas. For Thomas, it was only a second career stage win at the Tour.
"I just felt good today, I followed my instincts," Thomas said after the stage.
Stage 11 of the Tour is only a modest 108-kilometer (67-mile) ride from Albertville to La Rosiere, but it incorporates some of the Tour's most grueling climbs.
These fierce peaks threw a wrench in former yellow-jersey holder Greg Van Avermaet's race — he lost contact with the leading riders around the half-way stage and finished well adrift.
Several other top contenders suffered difficult days in the blistering sun. Spain's Alejandro Valverde attacked but couldn't sustain his charge, ultimately finishing 3:30 off the pace, and Britain's Adam Yates rolled in almost 5 minutes after Thomas. Last year's Tour runner-up, Rigoberto Uran, finished 26 minutes behind — effectively killing off any hopes he might have held of another podium finish.
Mark Cavendish, meanwhile, failed to finish the stage quickly enough and is therefore eliminated from the Tour. He dropped behind early on, eventually even losing touch with the trailing grupetto behind the peloton. He then struggled to keep pace without the aid of rival riders nearby. Similarly, Germany's Marcel Kittel dropped out of the race on Wednesday, after coming in more than half an hour off the pace.
msh (AFP, AP, Reuters)