Britain's Chris Froome secured the Tour de France yellow jersey after a stunning win on the first day in the mountains as his rivals slumped on Saturday.

Sky team leader Froome launched a solo attack 5km from the race's first summit finish at Ax-Trois-Domaines and crossed the finish line 51sec ahead of Australian teammate Richie Porte to underline his overall victory credentials.

Spain's two-time runner-up Alberto Contador finished over a minute behind while the victory hopes of 2011 champion Cadel Evans all but faded on an epic eighth stage.

Froome, last year's runner-up behind teammate Bradley Wiggins, now tops the general classification with a 51sec lead over Australian teammate Porte, with Spain's Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) in third at 1min 25sec.

Contador (Saxo) is 1:51 off the pace while Australian Evans (BMC) is nearly five minutes adrift after finishing the stage 4:12 down on Froome.

Porte, the last rider in Sky's impressive line-up to set the pace on the 7.8 km climb to the Pyrenean ski station, said the order to hit full gas came from Froome after the Kenyan-born rider had realised Contador was in trouble.

"When Chris told me Alberto was no longer there, I just tried to give it everything I had," said Porte, who had taken over the pace-setting duties from Britain's Peter Kennaugh.

"I'm finished (exhausted), but it was an absolutely incredible ride."

Source: AFP