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Overall race leader Bradley Wiggins (Sky) on the podium
Sky man maintains slim overall lead
Taking the leader's jersey at the Critérium du Dauphiné on stage 1 may not have been his objective, but Brad Wiggins and his Sky teammates were on the front foot on Tuesday to defend the slim one second lead.
Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Rogers took off in an early breakaway attempt until they were joined by Wiggins. The day's break of David Moncoutie (Cofidis), Christophe Kern (Europcar), Blel Kadri (AG2R), and José Sarmiento (Liquigas-Cannondale) was finally cemented ahead of the Col de Montivernoux, the first of the day's categorised climbs.
"Everyone knew the race went straight uphill right away and our objective was to make it hard from the start," Wiggins told teamsky.com.
"Once again the team were incredible, they were fantastic throughout the day and they made my job a lot easier.
"When the four-man break eventually went clear it was a lot more straightforward, albeit still a hard day."
Sky were attentive on the front of the bunch with Boasson Hagen, Rogers, Richie Porte and Kanstantsin Siutsou maintaining the pace.
"It was a very hard stage - full on from the start - and the best place to be was at the front which is exactly where we were," said sports director Sean Yates.
"The guys are working together superbly again and it's great to see."
Yates said that with the focus on the sprinters on Stage 3 to La Clayette, the team may be lucky enough to have some extra support on the front.
Wiggins, finishing in the front group along with his nearest rival and threat for the overall Cadel Evans (BMC), maintained his lead over the Australian ahead of Wednesday's 167km stage. Porte sits in 10th overall, seven seconds back, with Rogers 16th, a further two seconds in arrears.
"It was all about respecting the jersey by defending it and also staying safe. It was also a hectic finish so it's good to have got through it all okay and that's another day down."