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Master of the Mûr: Alexis Vuillermoz!

Ag2r got their first stagewin of the 2015 Tour but it was not one of their established stars but instead breakthrough climber Alexis Vuillermoz who timed his attacking on the steep Mûr de Bretagne to take the win ahead of a chasing pack of GC riders.

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Alexis Vuillermoz had already proven his ability on the short and steep finishes by placing well on the Mur de Huy in both the Tour and Fleche Wallonne. Today he got his big breakthrough though as he proved strongest and smartest on the two kilometer. climb to the finish.

The day started once again with the early break easily established but like in the days before the peloton was never prepared to give them much room to play. Sylvain Chavanel, Bartosz Huzarski, Pierre-Luc Périchon and Romain Sicard were the attackers of the day but they were never to have much role in the race. The intermediate sprint behind the break was won easily by André Greipel ahead of Degenkolb, both of them clearly trying to do what they can to hang on at the front of the Points competition. There aren't a whole lot of more points on offer for the pure sprinters so we'll see if Greipel can actually be a factor in the end.

The intermediate sprint also worked as a catalyst for a bit of attacking with Etixx and Lotto going on the offensive, World Champ Kwiatkowski among others. This ended in a bit of a shakeup in the breakawy group with Huszarski hanging on and getting joined by Golas (Etixx) and Lars Bak (Lotto). This new constellation was left hanging off the front with about a minute's gap as Cannondale-Garmin took on the responsibility of controlling the breakaway, clearly working for Dan Martin's chances to win the stage.

On the undulating roads approaching the Mur the work of Cannondale and an un-cooperative headwind were the break's undoing. The pace and climbs also reduced the peloton as support riders and sprinters dropped off the back and it was a group of less  than 100 that hit the final climb with 2 km to go. BMC were driving the pace early but soon Sky forced the pace and the first attacks came. Vuillermoz snuck off the front with Simon Yates on his wheel but got little gap as Chris Froome dragged a train of GC favorites along at high speed. Vuillermoz sat on the Frooe train to and rested up for a bit before he once again launched a strong attack.

After a significant gap was opened Dan Martin came as shot out of a cannon but once again, like in Huy, it was too little too late and he had to settle for a frustrating second. The only GC riders to struggle were Vincenzo Nibali and frenchmen Pinot and Bardet who dropped off the group in the last km. Nibali ended up losing 10 seconds, Pinot 15 sec and Bardet 21 seconds. Nothing major though in the bigger picture but it does make you go hmmmm a little bit.

Top 10 Stage 7

1. FRAVUILLERMOZ Alexis 19 AG2R LA MONDIALE 04h 20' 55''
2. IRLMARTIN Daniel 167 TEAM CANNONDALE-GARMIN 04h 21' 00'' + 00' 05''
3. ESPVALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro 59 MOVISTAR TEAM 04h 21' 05'' + 00' 10''
4. SVKSAGAN Peter 47 TINKOFF-SAXO 04h 21' 05'' + 00' 10''
5. FRAGALLOPIN Tony 71 LOTTO-SOUDAL 04h 21' 05'' + 00' 10''
6. BELVAN AVERMAET Greg 68 BMC RACING TEAM 04h 21' 05'' + 00' 10''
7. GBRYATES Adam 108 ORICA GREENEDGE 04h 21' 05'' + 00' 10''
8. GBRFROOME Christopher 31 TEAM SKY 04h 21' 05'' + 00' 10''
9. NEDMOLLEMA Bauke 141 TREK FACTORY RACING 04h 21' 05'' + 00' 10''
10. USAVAN GARDEREN Tejay 61 BMC RACING TEAM 04h 21' 05'' + 00' 10''

Top 10 General Classification

1. GBRFROOME Christopher 31 TEAM SKY 31h 01' 56''
2. SVKSAGAN Peter 47 TINKOFF-SAXO 31h 02' 07'' + 00' 11''
3. USAVAN GARDEREN Tejay 61 BMC RACING TEAM 31h 02' 09'' + 00' 13''
4. FRAGALLOPIN Tony 71 LOTTO-SOUDAL 31h 02' 22'' + 00' 26''
5. BELVAN AVERMAET Greg 68 BMC RACING TEAM 31h 02' 24'' + 00' 28''
6. COLURAN URAN Rigoberto 118 ETIXX-QUICK STEP 31h 02' 30'' + 00' 34''
7. ESPCONTADOR Alberto 41 TINKOFF-SAXO 31h 02' 32'' + 00' 36''
8. FRABARGUIL WARREN 82 TEAM GIANT-ALPECIN 31h 03' 03'' + 01' 07''
9. CZESTYBAR Zdenek 116 ETIXX-QUICK STEP 31h 03' 11'' + 01' 15''
10. NEDMOLLEMA Bauke 141 TREK FACTORY RACING 31h 03' 28'' + 01' 32''