Alexis Vuillermoz has broken a “frustrating” dry spell with a convincing solo win at the GP de Plumelec.
The 28-year-old took line honours ahead of Jonathan Hivert and AG2R La Mondiale teammate Sam Dumoulin, marking his first victory in more than a year.
The Factor-sponsored AG2R La Mondiale team has had a near faultless run at the 182km race, claiming four editions in the past five years.
It’s the second time Vuillermoz has prevailed at the French competition, which he also won in 2015, but triumph this year was more personally significant.
The Tour de France stage winner was unsatisfied with a quiet 2016 campaign, a feeling that compounded when he fractured his back in a January car crash, which delayed his 2017 season debut.
“This victory is a relief,” he said. “After having had a successful 2015 season last year was more of a contrast and I was keen to prove that I am still able to win races, especially since I have not won a race since September 2015.
“I am happy because I had to go a month without riding my bike this winter after a car accident, and since my return to racing I have been able to be a protagonist in WorldTour level events.”
Dumoulin entered the race as defending champion, but played a role in securing his teammate’s victory.
“The team – both physically and tactically – worked perfectly. With Mathias Frank and Christophe Riblon in the breakaway, we managed ourselves very well,” Vuillermoz said. “In the final, Pierre Latour put in a huge turn and placed me with 800m to go. Since we had Samuel Dumoulin to cover as well, it was an ideal scenario.”