(AP) - LA TOUSSUIRE, France Pierre Rolland of France won the hardest Alpine stage in the Tour de France on Thursday, and Bradley Wiggins dusted defending champion Cadel Evans in the final climb to extend his overall lead.
Rolland gave the Europcar team its second straight stage win after the 92-mile ride in the Alps from Albertville ended with a grueling ascent to the ski resort of La Toussuire.
Rolland won by 55 seconds, ahead of Thibaut Pinot of France and Christopher Froome of Britain. Wiggins and two rivals for the title- Jurgen Van Den Broeck of Belgium and Vincenzo Nibali of Italy - were another two seconds slower.
"I'd been dreaming about this stage for six months ... I got all sorts of messages this morning saying `it's your turn, it's your turn,"' Rolland said. "My second victory in the Alps in two years - I don't have the words to describe the feeling."
He won despite skidding to the ground in a crash during the last big downhill.
"That's not going to stop me," he said.
Wiggins, along with Froome and other Sky teammates, repelled repeated attacks by his yellow jersey rivals over three huge ascents in the ride. Evans fell from second place overall- possibly seeing his repeat hopes vanish - after losing more than a minute to Wiggins.
Evans began the day 1:53 behind Wiggins.
Wiggins said he felt "relief" in the last few miles, especially knowing that Evans had been dropped - an outcome the Briton had not expected.
The race stays in the Alps on Friday with a 140-mile ride from Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne to Annonay Davezieux.
[youtube width="600" height="361"]httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqXsfXJhN_A
Stage 11 Results
1. Pierre Rolland - Team Europcar - 4:43:54
2. Thibaut Pinot - FDJ-Big Mat - 0:00:55
3. Christopher Froome - Sky Procycling
4. Jurgen Van Den Broeck - Lotto Belisol Team - 0:00:57
5. Vincenzo Nibali - Liquigas-Cannondale
6. Bradley Wiggins - Sky Procycling
7. Chris Anker Sörensen - Team Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank - 0:01:08
8. Janez Brajkovic - Astana Pro Team - 0:01:58
9. Vasili Kiryienka - Movistar Team - 0:02:13
10. Frank Schleck - RadioShack-Nissan - 0:02:23
General classification after Stage 11
1. Bradley Wiggins - Sky Procycling - 48:43:53
2. Christopher Froome - Sky Procycling - 0:02:05
3. Vincenzo Nibali - Liquigas-Cannondale - 0:02:23
4. Cadel Evans - BMC Racing Team - 0:03:19
5. Jurgen Van Den Broeck - Lotto Belisol Team - 0:04:48
6. Haimar Zubeldia Agirre - RadioShack-Nissan - 0:06:15
7. Tejay van Garderen - BMC Racing Team - 0:06:57
8. Janez Brajkovic - Astana Pro Team - 0:07:30
9. Pierre Rolland - Team Europcar - 0:08:31
10. Thibaut Pinot - FDJ-Big Mat - 0:08:51
Full results here..
Links to news sites...
"Rolland wins 11th stage as Wiggins drops Evans
By Justin Davis (AFP)
LA TOUSSUIRE, France - Frenchman Pierre Rolland claimed an epic 11th stage victory on the Tour de France Thursday as race leader Bradley Wiggins of Britain took another step towards overall victory.
Rolland soloed over the finish line after an epic day of racing to claim his second victory in the race a year after his maiden win at Alpe d'Huez to hand Europcar their second win in as many days.
The yellow jersey group of Wiggins came over the finish line of the 148 km stage from Albertville 57sec later. It included Italian contender Vincenzo Nibali and Belgian Jurgen van den Broeck.
Wiggins came under attack several times on the final 18km climb to La Toussuire -- notably by Nibali and Van den Broeck.
But thanks to the help of Sky teammate Chris Froome the Englishman was ultimately able to reel them in and then drop defending champion Cadel Evans of Australia.
Evans ran out of steam in the final 6 km of the 18 km climb to finish 1:26 behind Wiggins and see his bid for a successful defence severely compromised.
He started the day in second place with a deficit of 1min 53sec to Wiggins but dropped to fourth overall at 3:19.
Wiggins now leads teammate Froome by 2:05, with Nibali third but still at 2:23 and Van den Broeck fifth at 4:48." Read more from AFP...
"Wiggins extends Tour advantage as Rolland wins epic stage in the Alps
(CNN) -- Britain's Bradley Wiggins extended his lead in this year's Tour de France after a dramatic 11th stage in the Alps Thursday, won by Pierre Rolland.
French hope Rolland gave his Europcar team their second win in two days as he crossed the line in La Toussuire in splendid isolation.
But just under a minute later came Wiggins in the yellow jersey in a small group that contained the main contenders for overall glory.
With defending champion Cadel Evans slipping off the pace in the final 18km climb to the finish, the nearest challenger to Wiggins is now his Team Sky teammate Chris Froome.
Vincenzo Nibali of Italy (Liquigas) has moved up to third as he came across the line with Wiggins, the two men shaking hands after verbal spat of the previous day." Read more from CNN International...
Photos by CorVos
Tomorrows Stage 12 Route -
[youtube width="600" height="361"]httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOM_rN1F2Ck