Stage Report: Stage 8 was a big game of cat and mouse and the mouse was Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal), the cats were Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ), followed by a pack of more cats – the peloton, what was left of it. De Gendt went early and then attacked his break companions, behind; Alaphilippe and Pinot chased him down, but he held on for the win. At he end of a fun-packed day, Alaphilippe has the yellow jersey back on his shoulders.
Solo win for Thomas de Gendt
Thomas De Gendt was the last man standing from the early break, he then squeezed out a powerful solo to the finish line in Saint-Étienne. Julian Alaphilippe recaptured the overall lead in the finalé, the Frenchman, together with Thibaut Pinot, the pair finished 20 seconds ahead of the group of favourites.
Last day in yellow for Giulio Ciccone – Stage 8 from Macon to Saint-Etienne
Stage 8 Route:
Mâcon to Saint Étienne – Not a day for the sprinters. Seven categorised climbs: Five Cat. 2 and two Cat. 3, the final climb, the Côte de la Jaillère, comes 12.5 kilometres from the finish line in Saint Étienne. Take a look at the profile and see if you can find one piece of flat road. Saint-Étienne was ignored by the Tour de France before the World Wars due to its position in the centre of France, since 1950 Saint-Étienne has welcomed the race 25 times. The names of the winners crowned in this city (Bobet, Hinault or Herrera) speak for themselves.
Good view of the start in Mâcon
5th on stage 7 – Jasper Philipsen
De Gendt and Terpstra in the early break
Immediately after the start, four riders jumped away from the peloton. Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie), Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Ben King (Dimension Data) and Mads Würtz Schmidt (Katusha-Alpecin). Würtz sat up and let the others go, but was replaced by Alessandro De Marchi (CCC).
Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal), Ben King (Dimension Data) and Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie)
The peloton didn’t want the three to get too far away
De Gendt, King and Terpstra were to have some extra company – Alessandro de Marchi (CCC)
The break took a 5 minute lead, but they did not get more than that from the peloton. Bora-Hansgrohe and Deceuninck – Quick-Step then put riders on the front to narrow the gap, they had plans for Julian Alaphilippe and Peter Sagan. Before the Côte d’Affoux, they had reduced the lead to 3 minutes.
De Marchi made it across to the front
Trek-Segafredo were in control at first
De Gendt and De Marchi were keen
The leading group seemed to have little chance, but De Gendt and De Marchi had other ideas. The pair left Terpstra and King on the Côte de la Croix de Part; the Belgian and the Italian were looking for the stage victory.
Sunweb and Astana put their men on the front after Bora and Deceuninck
The break was about to split
The lead then grew to 4 minutes, even though the peloton had lifted their speed. The back door was wide open in the peloton and Wout van Aert could no longer follow the pace, Peter Sagan and Steven Kruijswijk were also in trouble, although they did manage to rejoin later.
Sunweb’s Chad Haga did a lot of work
After the Côte d’Aveize, where De Gendt was the first over the summit, like all other climbs, there were only 50 riders left in the chase group. In the run-up to Côte de la Jallière, the last climb of the day, EF Education First and Astana took charge of the chase and the two leaders advantage narrowed quickly. With 20 kilometres to go they only had 1:20.
De Gendt left De Marchi for the solo win
The nervousness increased on the run-up to the Côte de la Jallière. Just before the climb, Geraint Thomas crashed with some of his teammates. The Tour winner was pulled back to the chasers by Wout Poels, so did not lose any time.
Trouble for Thomas
De Gendt fought hard to the line
At the front; De Gendt left his Italian companion on the Côte de la Jallière and crossed the top with a 30 second lead. Behind him all hell had broken loose. Just before the summit of the Jallière, Alaphilippe jumped away to pick up five bonus seconds, but when he looked round he saw that only Thibaut Pinot was in his wheel, and so they both continued with the move.
6 seconds in hand for the win
De Gendt kept his half-minute lead on the favourites group in the last 10 kilometres, but saw Pinot and Alaphilippe were approaching quickly. The two Frenchmen were only 10 seconds behind De Gendt, but the Belgian managed to hold on. De Gendt was able to celebrate his victory in Saint-Etienne.
Stage winner, Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal): “From 70km to go, I just kept riding full gas until last climb. The bunch was coming closer but I had to go solo and stay ahead of them. I had really good feelings all day. From 5’, our lead went down quickly to 3’30’’, but we didn’t pushed that much until the climb of the feed zone. That was the moment to get a bigger gap again. I almost crashed in a few corners but I made it. It hurts so much but it’s wonderful. It’s also mission accomplished for the team. Our goal was to come to the Tour for winning a stage. We almost got it yesterday with Caleb [Ewan] yesterday. I’ve had very good feeling already for the whole Tour and I had amazing legs today.”
Pinot and Alaphilippe took 20 seconds plus the bonus
Alaphilippe was just behind Pinot at the finish line in the battle for second place. The group of favourites came in 20 seconds after the two French, so Alaphilippe recaptured the yellow jersey from Giulio Ciccone.
Michael Matthews brought in what was left of the leaders in 4th place
Alaphilippe back in yellow
Overall leader, Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck – Quick-Step): “It was the ideal scenario but I wasn’t sure if it could happen this way. I had nothing to lose. I knew my deficit on GC was only 6’’, but it was a big task at the same time. It’s nice that breakaways get rewarded. I had to attack and go full gas. I didn’t know the finale. I was just focused in the last kilometres and it went very fast. In the last 500 meters I thought it’s now or never, I just went full gas. It was difficult to be in a better situation than with Thibaut Pinot. Had I been alone, I would have gone flat out anyway but with him, I could recover a bit sometimes. I couldn’t dream of anything better than riding in yellow jersey on Bastille Day tomorrow.”
Tour de France Stage 8 Result:
1. Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal in 5:00:17
2. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:06
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
4. Michael Matthews (Aus) Sunweb at 0:26
5. Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
6. Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
7. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
8. Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC
9. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos
10. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos
11. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe
12. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana
13. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar
14. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First
15. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
16. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott
17. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic
18. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe
19. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo
20. Fabio Aru (Ita) UAE Team Emirates
21. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana
22. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step
23. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma
24. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo
25. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension Data.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 8:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck – Quick-Step in 34:17:59
2. Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo at 0:23
3. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 0:53
4. George Bennett (NZ) Jumbo-Visma at 1:10
5. Geraint Thomas (GB) Ineos at 1:12
6. Egan Bernal (Col) Ineos at 1:16
7. Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 1:27
8. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First at 1:38
9. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana at 1:42
10. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe at 1:45
11. Enric Mas (Spa) Deceuninck – Quick-Step at 1:46
12. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 1:47
13. Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert at 2:02
14. Nairo Quintana (Col) Movistar at 2:04
15. Mikel Landa (Spa) Movistar at 2:06
16. Daniel Martin (Irl) UAE Team Emirates at 2:09
17. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ at 2:15
18. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 2:19
19. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 2:45
20. Patrick Konrad (Aut) Bora-Hansgrohe at 2:46
21. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana at 2:54
22. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 3:18
23. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 3:20
24. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkéa Samsic at 3:26
25. Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Dimension Data at 3:28.