July 11, 2015

MUR DE BRETAGNE, France (AP) The Latest from the Tour de France (all times local):

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6:36 p.m.

Featuring a climb at the end of a 28-kilometer hilly trek through Brittany, Sunday's Tour de France team time trial could see a change at the top of the overall standings.

The race against the clock is the final test before Tour riders enjoy their first rest day ahead of punishing stages in the Pyrenees, and Tour de France leader Chris Froome is well aware that his yellow jersey will be under threat by Tejay van Garderen.

''It's a very tricky time trial giving that it's undulating,'' said Froome, who has a 13-second lead over his third-placed American rival. ''Tomorrow it's going to go down to who can deliver five guys fresh enough to get off that final climb. Hopefully we'll be up there with the bests.''

Times in a team time trial are taken off the fifth rider.

''It's a very important stage tomorrow,'' added Froome, the 2013 Tour champion. ''I really see as much as 20 or 30 seconds won or lost between some of the teams that go well and some that don't go quite so well.''

Van Garderen's BMC team won the team time trial at last year's world championships and finished first at the Criterium du Dauphine, the warm-up event for the Tour de France. With cycling's Big Four - Froome, Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Alberto Contador - getting most of the media attention at the Tour, Van Garderen has gone under the radar.

''I really do think Tejay has ridden a very impressive race up until now,'' Froome said. ''I really do think that he's in a great condition. Time will tell when we get up into the high mountains but I really expect him to be a threat, especially as he has a very good team around him.''

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5:42

Alexis Vuillermoz paid tribute to his late father after posting his first career stage win at the Tour de France on Saturday.

The 27-year-old rider from French outfit Ag2r, who made his breakthrough last year at the Giro d'Italia with an 11th-place finish in his second professional season, said his father passed away three years ago.

''Today I'm thinking about him, he was a Tour de France fan and hopefully he is proud of me,'' Vuillermoz said.

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5:22 p.m.

Alexis Vuillermoz launched a bold counterattack on the short but tough climb to Mur de Bretagne to give France its maiden stage win at this year's Tour.

Vuillermoz, a former mountain bike specialist, made his move after race leader Chris Froome accelerated at the front of the pack with one kilometer (0.6 miles) left, with defending champion Vincenzo Nibali losing 10 seconds on his main rivals in the punishing ascent.

Vuillermoz said ''I had ticked the stages at Mur de Huy and Mur de Bretagne. After finishing third at Huy, today it was just about winning.''

According to provisional results, Froome keeps the yellow jersey, with a 11-second lead over Peter Sagan. American Tejay van Garderen remains in third place, 13 seconds back.

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4:20 p.m.

Given the enthusiastic response to the MTN-Qhubeka team so far on the Tour de France, team principal Douglas Ryder can't wait until the race reaches Paris.

Before the start of Saturday's 8th stage, Eritrean fans waved flags and chanted songs in honor of the African team's two Eritrean riders: Daniel Teklehaimanot and Merhawi Kudus.

''It's amazing, they're so passionate about their own people, and their own countrymen's success,'' Ryder told The Associated Press. ''It's incredible to see them come out and support the riders.''

MTN-Qhubeka is the first African team to compete in the Tour, with two South Africans also racing. Fans from all over Africa have taken notice.

''Even Rwandans come to us, Ethiopians have come to us and said, `This is fantastic for African cycling,''' Ryder said. ''People from Senegal, Mozambique. They all walk past and say, `Wow, African cycling is on the map!'''

The race ends on the landmark Champs-Elysees on July 26, with hundreds of thousands of fans expected to pack the route.

''Paris is going to be outrageous, it will be incredible,'' Ryder said.

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3:07 p.m.

Italian rider Luca Paolini has told his team that he did not use cocaine during the Tour de France despite a positive test at cycling's biggest race.

The 38-year-old Paolini, who tested positive on the fourth stage earlier this week, also said he did not use the banned stimulant before the Tour.

''We of course asked him for an explanation,'' Katusha press officer Philippe Maertens said Saturday. ''He said he did not use cocaine, not in the Tour de France, not before. But we see a positive result, it's up to him to prove his innocence, which is quite difficult.''

Cocaine is among a class of stimulants whose use is banned only in competition.

Katusha said it will wait until the results of the rider's ''B'' sample before deciding on Paolini's future with the team.

Paolini, who was 168th overall before being thrown out of the race, won the Gent-Wevelgem one-day classic earlier this season.

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1:15 p.m.

British rider Chris Froome wore the race leader's yellow jersey as riders set off on the eighth stage of the Tour de France on Saturday.

Prior to the start of the stage in the Brittany city of Rennes, Eritrean rider Daniel Teklehaimanot wore the best climber's polka-dot jersey as he stopped to greet a vocal group of Eritrean fans waving flags and singing ''Viva, Eritrea.''

There are two Eritrean riders on the MTN-Qhubeka team, the first African team to compete in the Tour.

Froome, who rides for Team Sky, is bidding to win his second Tour after winning in 2013 and crashing out early in last year's race.

Saturday's eighth stage, which stays in Brittany, is a mostly flat 181.5-kilometer (112.5-mile) trek starting from Rennes and finishing with a short climb up Mur de Bretagne.

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