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"The last kilometer was not so steep and there were plenty of guys there with the big engines. Joaquim is the more explosive type. But we tried to get a result."

Photo: Sirotti

JOAQUIM RODRIGUEZ OLIVER

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KATUSHA ALPECIN

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TOUR DE FRANCE

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11.07.2015 @ 21:31 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

Saturday’s stage 8 ended on the Côte de Mûr-de-Bretagne and produced a French winner for the first time in the 2015 Tour de France. Alexis Vuillermoz (AG2R La Mondiale) broke away in the last few hundred meters and Team Katusha’s Joaquim “Purito” Rodriguez was in hot pursuit for the final. In the end Vuillermoz claimed victory by 5-seconds to Daniel Martin (Team Cannondale – Garmin) and five more to third place Alejandro Valverde of Movistar. Rodriguez was in the group on the same time with Valverde, race leader Chris Froome (Team Sky) and Valverde teammate Nairo Quintana, all pre-race favorites for the overall classification.

 

"We had a plan today and that was to go for a stage win with “Purito”. The team did a good job until the last hill and brought him in good position for the climb. Unfortunately the speed was not high enough to pare down the group and too many were still in the final. The last kilometer was not so steep and there were plenty of guys there with the big engines. Joaquim is the more explosive type. But we tried to get a result," said team director José Azevedo.

 

There was no change at the stage end for the top of the general classification. After just over 31-hours and 8 days of racing, Chris Froome is 11-seconds in front of Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) and thirteen seconds ahead of Tejay van Garderen of BMC. Joaquim Rodriguez remains the best placed Katusha rider in 17th place at two-minutes.

 

Today’s stage began in Rennes and ended uphill on the Côte de Mûr-de-Bretagne after 181,5 km.  A breakaway stayed clear until the closing kilometers when the last riders were pulled back and the teams of the GC contenders increased their speeds on approach for the climb. Katusha was present in the front and Rodriguez showed good form on the climb. With all of the high mountains still ahead, Purito knows his chances will come soon to try for a second stage win and to close the gaps on the classification.

 

Sunday brings the team time trial. Coming in the race at the conclusion of first 9 days of competition, the team time trial could prove to be challenging for many teams. The clock is stopped on the fifth rider and with most teams no longer riding with a full roster of 9 riders and others part of the rolling wounded, Sunday’s stage could open up gaps for the general classification. The 28 km stage begins in Vannes and ends in Plumelec atop the 1,7 km (6.2%) Côte de Cadoudal. After the stage the riders will fly south to spend the first rest day in Pau.

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