Chris Froome admitted the Tour de France's first day in the mountains could not have gone any better after he claimed the race leader's yellow jersey with a stunning win on stage eight.
The 28-year-old Briton inflicted heavy losses on all of his rivals for overall victory thanks to a magnificent display on the summit finish at Ax 3 Domaines, which was capped when Team Sky team-mate Richie Porte came home in second place.
Alberto Contador (Saxo-Tinkoff) followed 1min 45secs behind in eighth, while Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) lost more than two minutes to Froome and Cadel Evans (BMC) shipped more than four minutes.
"I couldn't be happier," Froome said. "It really has been a very nervous week building up unitl now, but my team has done a fantastic job.
'Couldn't have asked for more'
"We have come through this first week in a really good position and being able to do that today, being able to repay my team-mates with a stage win and Richie coming second, we couldn't have asked for more.
"This is the first real GC day, so to have come out and won it with first and second, this is just a dream come true for us. That is such a good way to start the mountains.
"This is only the first week of the Tour. We have still got two weeks to go. There is definitely going to be a lot of hard racing to come. Now we have got the yellow jersey, we are definitely going to have to defend it."
Porte played an integral role in Froome's victory by reeling in a solo attack from Nairo Quintana (Movistar) on the day's penultimate climb, the Col de Pailheres, and setting a fierce pace up to Ax 3 Domaines.
'It's not over yet'
He was also elated with the outcome of the day, but insisted that the race was not over.
Porte said: "It looks good for us, but there is still a long way to go, with Ventoux [stage 15] and Alpe d'Huez [stage 18], and I don't think it is over.
"It is a massive surprise and an absolutely brilliant day for the team. When Quintana attacked we didn't panic because you are not going to ride away solo like that to the finish."