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Vuillermoz Achieves France’s First Victory

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July 11, 2015 – Alexis Vuillermoz won the eighth stage of the Tour de France on Saturday to become the first French rider to triumph this year. The 27-year-old former mountain biker escaped on the final 2km climb to the finish at Mur de Bretagne following a 181.5km stage from Rennes.

AFP/Yuzuru Sunada

Ireland’s Dan Martin timed his counter-attack a shade too late and came home second at 5sec with Spaniard Alejandro Valverde winning the sprint finish for third at 10sec.

Briton Chris Froome finished eighth, safely in the lead peloton to retain the overall leader’s yellow jersey by 11sec from Peter Sagan, who did at least take the green points jersey. American Tejay Van Garderen is third overall at 13sec. But reigning champion Vincenzo Nibali gave up a few seconds as he was dropped by the lead pack on the final climb, with its average gradient of 6.9 percent.

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Vuillermoz confirmed the promise he’d shown on Monday’s third stage when he was third behind Joaquim Rodriguez and Froome on a similar finish at the Mur de Huy.

The 27-year-old showed how comfortable he was on such short, sharp uphill finishes, no doubt leaning on his mountain biking experience, having also taken sixth place at April’s Fleche Wallonne one-day Classic, which likewise finishes on the Mur de Huy. It was a thrilling finish after a fairly pedestrian stage with a regulation breakaway that was reeled in 8km from the end.

While the time gaps were minimal, Nibali will be concerned that he was dropped just three days away from the first mountain summit finish at La Pierre-Saint Martin with its beyond category climb measuring 15.3km at an average 7.4 percent.

Final Kilometer of Stage 8

Results Stage 8:
1. Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 4:20:55
2. Daniel Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin Pro Cycling Team 0:00:05
3. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:10
4. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo
5. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal
6. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team
7. Adam Yates (GBr) Orica GreenEdge
8. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing
10. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team

General Classification:
1. Christopher Froome (GBr) Team Sky 31:01:56
2. Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:11
3. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:13
4. Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal 0:00:26
5. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:28
6. Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:00:34
7. Alberto Contador (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:36
8. Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Giant-Alpecin 0:01:07
9. Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step 0:01:15
10. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:32