Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r-La Mondiale) took the first French victory of the 2015 Tour de France, winning stage eight on the Mur de Bretagne.
Vuillermoz accelerated away from the elite front group, after Chris Froome (Team Sky) – who kept the yellow jersey and gained ten seconds on Vincenzo Nibali – had set the pace on the final climb.
The Frenchman kicked twice, and his second attack was enough to rid himself of the company of Dan Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) and Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) and solo to victory.
Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo), meanwhile, claimed fourth to move top of the points classification for the first time and stay just 11 seconds back on GC ahead of the team time trial.
Earlier, after a flurry of attacks, a four-man break went clear with local team Bretagne-Seche Environnement represented through Pierre-Luc Perichon.
Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), Bartosz Huzarski (Bora-Argon 18) and Romain Sicard (Europcar) joined him up the road, with Lotto-Soudal setting the pace in the peloton.
At the uphill intermediate sprint, Etixx-QuickStep gathered to lead Mark Cavendish out but the drag proved too much – Andre Greipel edging out John Degenkolb to take more points.
The action there meant the front group was reeled back in by the sprinters, and their lead-out men, and a new lead group of Huzarski, Golas and Bak eventually earned a small gap.
With many teams eyeing stage success, however, there were no shortage of teams pulling hard to bring them back and the peloton regrouped with eight kilometres remaining.
Froome was on the front as they hit the final climb, and the yellow jersey then worked to bring back the attack of Simon Geschke (Giant-Alpecin), Adam Yates (Orica-GreenEDGE) and Vuiilermoz.
With Nibali in trouble at the back, Vuillermoz attacked again inside the final kilometre and this time – despite Martin’s chase – held on to claim victory.
Tour de France 2015: stage eight – result
1) Alexis Vuillermoz (FRA) – Ag2r-La Mondiale – 4.20.55hrs
2) Dan Martin (IRL) – Cannondale-Garmin +5”
3) Alejandro Valverde (ESP) – Movistar +10”
4) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Tinkoff-Saxo – ST
5) Tony Gallopin (FRA) – Lotto-Soudal
6) Greg van Avermaet (BEL) – BMC Racing
7) Adam Yates (GBR) – Orica-GreenEDGE
8) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky
9) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek Factory Racing
10) Tejay van Garderen (USA) – BMC Racing
1) Chris Froome (GBR) – Team Sky – 31.01.56hrs
2) Peter Sagan (SVK) – Tinkoff-Saxo +11”
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-QuickStep +34”
7) Alberto Contador (ESP) – Tinkoff-Saxo +36”
8) Warren Barguil (FRA) – Giant-Alpecin +1.07
9) Zdenek Stybar (CZE) – Etixx-QuickStep +1.15
10) Bauke Mollema (NED) – Trek Factory Racing +1.32