VILLARD-DE-LANS, FRANCE, JULY 12 -- Italian rider Claudio Chiappucci captured the yellow jersey today in the Tour de France in a mountain time trial that proved a disaster for previous leader Ronan Pensec of France.
Eric Breukink of the Netherlands won the 20.8-mile climb from Fontaine near Grenoble in 56 minutes 52 seconds but the real drama was reserved for the last riders to go in the individual race against the clock.
Chiappucci, the last one to start, clocked 57 minutes 57 seconds to record the eighth best time of the day, but behind him Pensec struggled.
Pensec came in exhausted in 1 hour 42 seconds. His 1-minute 28-second advantage was wiped out and he is second overall, 1:17 seconds behind the Italian.
"I had no legs, no strength," Pensec. "I don't understand what happened today. But the Tour is not yet over -- there's still a week left."
Chiappucci said: "I wanted this yellow jersey from the start and now it's done."
Pedro Delgado of Spain was second in the time trial with compatriot Miguel Indurain third and last year's Tour winner, Greg LeMond of the United States, fifth.
LeMond fell back to fourth overall, 7 minutes 27 seconds behind the Italian and Delgado moved up to fifth, 1 minute 35 seconds further behind.
Breukink, who won the prologue in last year's Tour de France and who took a stage victory in 1987, moved up to third overall.
Chiappucci is the first Italian to wear the yellow jersey since Francesco Moser in 1975 and could become the first Italian to win it since Felice Gimondi in 1965.