Italian Nibali fears Froome ahead of Wiggins
Yellow jersey contender Vincenzo Nibali believes that Briton Chris Froome could be the man to watch and not current incumbent Bradley Wiggins, after the Kenyan-born climber won his first Tour stage.
Froome powered away from Cadel Evans and Wiggins on the final steep ascent of Stage 7 to claim his honour with Wiggins doing enough behind to take over le maillot jaune from Fabian Cancellara.
Italian pretender Nibali was dropped by the trio on the arduous final climb, however is only 16 seconds back in third overall with Sunday's draining Stage 8 set to test the main contenders again.
The Sicilian declared: "It was a big effort. They (Team Sky) made an infernal rhythm until the end. The tempo was really high from the bottom to the top.
"I didn't expect such a big selection. The first mountain is always a bit of an unknown, and often people are a bit worried about it. Sky really did something big, but that’s good for the stages to come.
"In the finale, I did want to have a go in the sprint, but it was very hard because we were all stretched out metres from one another. We were all on the limit.
"On the first summit finish, a lot of people suffer, and I suffered a little bit myself, but it’s always like that on the first big climb of a Grand Tour for me.
"My impression was that the strongest acceleration came from Froome and not from Wiggins."
Meanwhile Frank Schleck, one of the pre-race favourites, was bullish despite struggling on the final climb and sitting three minutes and 43 seconds behind overall leader Wiggins after eight days of racing.
The Luxembourg rider said: "I saw that (Andreas) Klöden had problems and was waiting for him, because I wanted to help him. I thought I would be able to bring him back.
"I think I was very strong on the last kilometres. I'm confident for the coming stages."
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