TOUR DE FRANCE 2015 Vuillermoz delivers first French win

Alexis Vuillermoz

Alexis Vuillermoz

Alexis Vuillermoz delivers the first French stage victory of the 2015 Tour de France one year after another AG2R-La Mondiale, Blel Kadri, paved the way for his compatriots one year ago. He counter-attacked after an acceleration by Chris Froome 800 metres before the top of Mûr de Bretagne and surprised Dan Martin who started his effort too late and came second. Froome retained the yellow jersey ahead of the team time trial set to finish in Plumelec where the winner of the yearly Grand Prix this year in May was… Vuillermoz.

185 riders started stage 8 in Rennes. One non-starter: Luca Paolini (Katusha). Local team Bretagne-Séché Environnement attacked from the gun but only at km 9 a four-man breakaway was formed with Bartosz Huzarski (Bora-Argon 18) and Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) being rejoined by Romain Sicard (Europcar) and Pierre-Luc Périchon (Bretagne-Séché Environnement). They reached a maximum time gap of 3.55 at km 16. Lotto-Soudal was prompt to seize the reins of the peloton and not let the time difference grow.

Bak, Golas and Huzarski in the middle of Breton flags

After the intermediate sprint at Gare de Moncontour (km 108.5), a group of 17 riders continued its effort and took off: Lars Boom (Astana), Jeremy Roy (FDJ), Peter Sagan (Tinkoff), Lars Bak, Thomas de Gendt and André Greipel (Lotto), John Degenkolb, Roy Curvers and Koen de Kort (Giant), Michal Kwiatkowski, Mark Cavendish and Michal Golas (Etixx), Pierre Rolland, Bryan Coquard and Angelo Tulik (Europcar), Frédéric Brun and Pierrick Fédrigo (Bretagne-Séché Environnement). With 69km to go, they caught the four leaders. The green jersey contenders gave up and three riders managed to ride away: Bak, Golas and Huzarski. They were strongly encouraged by huge crowds waving Breton flags all along the route.

Vuillermoz responds to Froome

Cannondale-Garmin was the most active team in the chase of the leading trio. Soon after Huzarski gave up, Bak and Golas were reeled in with 8km to go. The Polish rider from Bora-Argon 18 was awarded the most aggressive rider price of the day. Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R-La Mondiale) showed his intentions under the flamme rouge but Chris Froome accelerated just after that as Vincenzo Nibali was in trouble. The tiny French climbers responded to the lanky Brit and rode away solo. Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) rode after him but a bit too late. Already third atop the Mur de Huy, Vuillermoz, a former mountain biker, claimed his first stage victory at the Tour de France at the age of 27.

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