Though André Greipel powered his way to fifth place in the intermediate sprint (click on the image below for a larger view), picking up 11 points in doing so, it was French cyclist Pierre-Luc Périchon who was first out of the breakaway group to win the sprint and earn 20 points.
France continued to showcase its lovely countryside. The Tour de France is a fabulous boon for tourism! I grabbed the screen capture below with about 78 km (48 mi) left (click on the image for a larger view).
This scene is near Moncontour and you can just see the sea in the distance. Could the peloton have enjoyed a better day?
Of course the big winner for France today was native son Alexis Vuillermoz, who blew away his competition inside the final kilometer of the category-3 climb in Mûr-de-Bretagne. Speeds got up to about 72 kph (45 mph) with about 5 km (3 mi) left as teams tried to prepare their big sprinters. But it was Vuillermoz who got it done. Does he look happy crossing the finish line (click on the image for a larger view)?
Chris Froome retains the yellow jersey, but it was a splendid day for France. Below is the comparison between reality and our prediction.
- Stage 8: 4h 20' 55" (actual), 4h 19" 45" (prediction), 01' 10" fast (-0.45% error)
We are thrilled with an error under half a percent! Check out Vuillermoz's average speed below.
- Stage 8: 11.59 m/s (41.74 kph or 25.93 mph)
Tomorrow's Stage 9 is a team time trial that begins in the commune of Vannes and heads 28 km (17 mi) almost due north to the commune of Plumelec. Below is our prediction.
- Stage 9: 31' 50" (prediction)
It will be interesting to see which teams compete well for the best time. A lot of strategy goes into the team time trial. Riders take turns in the lead so teammates can save energy through drafting. The 2013 Tour de France saw Orica-GreenEDGE set the record with an average speed of 57.84 kph (35.94 mph). Click here for my post on that stage. If speeds are that fast tomorrow, our prediction will be a bit slow!