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One day before the team time trial there was another chance for the punchers at the Tour de France. The riders started in Rennes and finished after 181.5 kilometres on the Mûr de Bretagne. Tony Gallopin finished on the fifth place, his fellow countryman Alexis Vuillermoz won the stage.

Early in the stage two duos melted together into a front group of four: Sylvain Chavanel, Bartosz Huzarski, Romain Sicard and Pierre-Luc Périchon. Lotto Soudal took control of the peloton. Thomas De Gendt rode many kilometres at the front again. 73 kilometres before the finish lay the intermediate sprint. André Greipel won the clash in the peloton and gained eleven points. A few riders escaped the bunch after the intermediate sprint and bridged to the four leaders. A new front group was formed afterwards with Lars Bak. The Dane of Lotto Soudal was accompanied by Huzarski, member of the early breakaway, and Michal Golas. The peloton, with Cannondale - Garmin at the front, didn’t give them much space. With seven and a half kilometres to go Lars Bak and co were caught. The peloton moved quickly to the Mûr de Bretagne. Alexis Vuillermoz attacked and finished five seconds ahead of Dan Martin. Tony Gallopin was fifth. Peter Sagan, fourth in the stage, took the green jersey away from André Greipel, who is three points behind the Slovakian rider.

Tony Gallopin: “This was a tough finish, tougher than I had hoped. I could hang on at the front of the bunch and take a nice fifth place, but I didn’t have energy left to attack. The team made sure I started the climb in a good position. The kilometres before the Mûr de Bretagne shouldn’t be underestimated either. At a high pace the peloton headed towards the climb and the bunch got reduced considerably.”

“The first kilometre of the climb was the steepest. I wanted to stay at the front and take my chance in the last kilometre if I could. It was a strong acceleration of Alexis, something that I couldn’t do. The past days I was happy with the two team victories, now I’m less happy. I had marked this stage, but after the rest day on Monday there are other stages that suit me as well and then I’ll try to join a breakaway.”

Greg Van Avermaet finished sixth and Tejay van Garderen was 10th Saturday for the BMC Racing Team on the eve of the team time trial at the Tour de France.

Alexis Vuillermoz (Ag2r La Mondiale) attacked in the final 700 meters of the finish climb of the Mûr de Bretagne to win solo, five seconds in front of runner-up Daniel Martin (Team Cannondale-Garmin) and 10 seconds ahead of a reduced peloton.

Heading into Sunday's 28-kilometer team time trial, Chris Froome (Team Sky) leads Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) by 11 seconds overall. Van Garderen is third, at 13 seconds, and Van Avermaet is fifth, 28 seconds back.

"With the team I have and what they have shown so far, I think we are pretty confident," van Garderen said. "We are just going to go out there and ride as hard as we can. We have four world champions in that discipline on the team, so we will put out the best performance that we think we can."

In addition to van Garderen, Rohan Dennis, Daniel Oss and Manuel Quinziato were the other three members of the BMC Racing Team's winning team at the world championships last September. Dennis won the opening stage of the Tour de France one week ago and was part of the winning team time trial squad last month at the Critérium du Dauphiné.

"We are the favorites, but I don't ever look at the other teams as not challenging us," Dennis said. "If you start looking at them in that way, you get beat. Also, looking at it as you are not the favorite - that you are chasing the win - never lets you relax."

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