Tour de France: Vincenzo Nibali loses time as Alexis Vuillermoz wins
Defending champion drops 10 seconds on race leader Chris Froome
By Matt Westby
Last Updated: 11/07/15 10:27pm
Vincenzo Nibali lost another 10 seconds to his Tour de France rivals as Alexis Vuillermoz won stage eight solo and Chris Froome retained the overall lead.
Frenchman Vuillermoz (Ag2r-La Mondiale) attacked with 750m remaining of the climb to the finish on the Mur de Bretagne and hung on to win by five seconds from runner-up Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) and 10 seconds from third-placed Alejandro Valverde (Movistar).
Froome (Team Sky) finished in the main group of chasers in eighth place to consolidate his 11-second lead at the top of the general classification over Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), who was fourth on the day, with Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) remaining 13 seconds back in third.
Nibali, however, was unable to keep pace on the short but steep final climb and was dropped with just under 1km to go, which sees him fall to 1min 48sec adrift of Froome in 13th overall.
Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) and Nairo Quintana (Movistar) both finished alongside Froome in the main group to stay 36 seconds and 1min 56sec off the Briton's race lead respectively.
Vuillermoz, who also finished in third place on the Mur de Huy on stage three, said: “Third place on the Mur de Huy was obviously amazing, so today I wanted to do something special. I tried two of three times to go, and finally on that third occasion, it worked. I put my head down and pedalled for all I was worth and it’s just about now that I’m beginning to realise I have won the stage.”
The 181.5km was largely flat and uneventful until it reached the final climb of the Mur de Bretagne, which averages 6.9 per cent in gradient over its 2km distance but is steepest in the first 1km.
Vuillermoz managed to surge clear of the Team Sky-led peloton alongside Britain’s Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEdge) and Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin) about 1.5km out, but after all of his team-mates had peeled off, Froome took up the chase himself and reeled the trio back in 600m later.
Vuillermoz still had energy left over, though, and attacked once again after a brief rest. Irishman Martin set off in pursuit around 100m later but left it too late and missed out on what would have been the second Tour stage win of his career.
Martin said: “I knew that was a good moment to go, when he [Vuillermoz] went, but I couldn’t go. I was on the right-hand side of the group and, with the wind from the left, I couldn’t go anywhere. I was waiting for the group to move left and, as soon as they did, I went, but it was too late.”
Sagan's fourth place saw him move to the top of the points classification and open up a three-point lead over second-placed Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal). Mark Cavendish (Etixx - Quick-Step) is 51 points further back in third.
The Tour continues on Sunday with a rolling 28km team time trial from Vannes to Plumelec. Find out more about the route in our race guide and follow the stage with our live blog from 2pm BST.
Stage eight result
1 Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) Ag2r-La Mondiale, 4:20:55
2 Dan Martin (Irl) Cannondale-Garmin, +5secs
3 Alejandro Valverde (Esp) Movistar, +10
4 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
5 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal, st
6 Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, st
7 Adam Yates (GB) Orica-GreenEdge, st
8 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, st
9 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing, st
10 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, st
14 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, st
17 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, st
30 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +20
1 Chris Froome (GB) Team Sky, 31:01:56
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Tinkoff-Saxo, +11secs
3 Tejay van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing, +13
4 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto Soudal, +26
5 Greg van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing, +28
6 Rigoberto Uran (Col) Etixx – Quick-Step, +34
7 Alberto Contador (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo, +36
8 Warren Barguil (Fra) Giant-Alpecin, +1:07
9 Zdenek Stybar (Cze) Etixx – Quick-Step, +1:15
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek Factory Racing, +1:32
13 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana, +1:48
16 Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar, +1:56