Tour De France Review – Stage 8: Rennes to Mûr-de-Bretagne

Alexis Vuillermoz - Ag2r-La Mondiale

Today’s stage was won by France’s Alexis Vuillermoz of Ag2r-La Mondiale. It is the first stage victory for the French team in this year’s Tour. Vuillermoz showed strength in the final section of Mûr-de-Bretagne, accelerating away from stage favorites and GC contenders.

Dan Martin’s Canondale Garmin team did a massive pull on the front of the peloton when as the race approached the 30km to go mark. This was done to set the Irishman up for the win and it may well have been had Martin not got boxed in momenterily. With Vuillermoz accelerating up the road Martin lost valuable seconds and although got away from the chasing peloton and he made up some ground on the Frenchman he ran out of road.

For other stage favorite Peter Sagan it was probably a bittersweet afternoon. With so much potential it is just a matter of time before he does win a stage however Sagan is so dangerous that no one wants to work with him. Instead, it appears everyone is happy to watch someone else win rather than Sagan. The irony is that in most cases he still beats whoever is with him in a sprint!

Anyway, Sagan finished in 4th place and this was enough to take the lead in the Green Jersey competition. Froome performed well on the puncy climb that is Mûr-de-Bretagne retains the maillot jaune. The surprise though was Nibali who was spat out the back of the pack Froome, Contador and Quintana was in.

Stage Highlights:

  • Alexis Vuillermoz (ALM), surprised all with a well timed attack in the final 800 m, a great stage victory for him and his French team.
  • Team Cannondale-Garmin upped the pace of the peloton over the final 25 kms in the hope that their chosen man for the day, Daniel Martin (TCG), would grab the win. He didn’t disappoint and finished a respectable second after hesitating just a moment too long before chasing after Vuillermoz.
  • Peter Sagan (TCS) is slowly closing the gap on race leader Christopher Froome (SKY): with just 12 seconds between him and the Brit, he may even gain the elusive ‘golden fleece’ before the big mountains begin on Tuesday.

Day in data:

  • Le Tour travelled through cycling mad Brittany today, starting off in Rennes (16th time stage town) and winding its way to the ‘Alpe-d’Huez’ of Brittany. Mûr-de-Bretagne was host to a stage finish for the second time in four years.
  • 1989 – the year Greg LeMond made his big comeback after a near-fatal hunting accident in 1987. LeMond crushed the competition to take the stage victory on the 73 km individual time trial between Dinard and Rennes.
  • 8 seconds – the smallest general classification winning margin in the Tour de France’s history.
  • 185 – the number of riders who started today’s stage.
  • 1,315.8 km – the distance from the individual time trial start in Utrecht to the finish line of today’s 181.5 km stage.
  • 20 km/h – the drop in average speed of riders through a feeding zone – click here to see this data for stages 5, 6 and 7.
  • 336 m – the highest elevation on today’s stage at Col du Mont Bel-Air; 99.5 kms into the stage.
  • 23.09 km/h – average speed of Romain Sicard (EUC), the winner of today’s first climb, up Col du Mont Bel-Air.
  • 51.67 km/h – the average speed of riders as they descended Col du Mont Bel-Air.
  • 24.52 km/h – speed of Pierre-Luc Périchon (BSE) at km 108.5 when he won today’s intermediate sprint.
  • 10.1% – the steepest gradient on Mûr-de-Bretagne two kilometres before the finish line.
  • 76.14 km/h – top speed recorded on the stage by Vincenzo Nibali (AST) at the 105.4 km mark.
  • 41.08 km/h – average speed on the stage.
  • 10’58” – time between first and last rider.

Stage Winner:

FRA | Alexis Vuillermoz | ALM
Stage time: 4h 20’ 55”
Average speed: 41.74 km/h

Overall Jersey Leaders:

yellowJersey_sGBR | Christopher Froome – SKY | 31h 01′ 56″

GreenJerseyNew_SSVK | Peter Sagan – TCS | 213 points

whiteJersey_sSVK | Peter Sagan – TCS | 31h 02′ 07″

PolkaDotJersey_sERI | Daniel Teklehaimanot – MTN | 4 points

Tomorrow sees the teams take on the team time-trial over a distance of 28km. The riders will start in Vannes and finish in Plumelec. The stage finishes with a climb up the Côte de Cadoudal and it could have an impact on the GC. Although Team Sky will start last and have the advantage of knowing how much work is needed to win, BMC is expected to do well and it may well be American Teejay Van Garderen who will don the Yellow Jersey tomorrow evening.

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