Stage Report: The first big mountain day saw a Frenchman live the dream. Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale) was in the big break of the day then dropped Ilnur Zakarin (CCC) before the Peyresourde to solo to the finish in Loudenvielle. Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) held onto the yellow jersey by the skin of his teeth.
A fine win for Nans Peters
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Ready for the start of a hard day
Stage 8 Route:
Tour director, Christian Prudhomme describes the stage: “The first Pyrenees stage was designed on a course that will be both dynamic and demanding. In less than 100 kilometres, the riders will have to reach the Col de Menté followed by the Port de Balès and the Col de Peyresourde. A fine downhiller could then have the opportunity to make a difference on a descent of around ten kilometres to the finish.”
An early break was allowed to escape in the relatively flat run-up to the Col de Menté (6.9 km at 8.1%). Neilson Powless, Michael Mørkøv, Søren Kragh Andersen, Benoit Cosnefroy, Nans Peters, Toms Skujins, Ben Hermans, Carlos Verona, Ilnur Zakarin, Kévin Reza, Quentin Pacher, Jérôme Cousin and Fabien Grellier took a maximum lead of 14.
Start town of Cazères-sur-Garonne – First time in the Tour
Mitchelton-Scott had no problems at this point. The early breakaway was relatively harmless for the GC, and would take all possible bonus seconds from the other classification rider. This would keep Adam Yates in the yellow jersey on a very hard day.
The break was soon to form
INEOS Grenadiers took over from Mitchelton-Scott on the Col de Menté. The lead for the break stabilised after that. Polka dot jersey wearer Benoit Cosnefroy was the first to the summit of the Col de Menté. Cousin could not wait and was aware that he had little chance of winning the stage if he waited until the two remaining climbs and so he decided to attack early. Cousin put together a lead of 1:30, but was in the break’s sights on the flanks of the Port de Balès.
The big break ahead of the mountains
Zakarin showed his good legs on this penultimate climb and the leading group exploded. Peters was the only rider who could really follow the Russian, but a chasing group with Verona, Kragh Andersen, Powless, Skujins and Pacher remained within a reasonable distance, but were unable to catch the duo.
Thirteen riders in the ‘Break of the Day’
Among the favourites, Thibaut Pinot had a terrible day. On the Port de Balès, the Frenchman had to let go the others, after which he dropped in the general classification. Under the power of Wout van Aert, the considerably thinned group of leaders emerged.
Mitchelton-Scott had to do the early chase work
Zakarin looked good for the win until the road went downhill
Peters made use of this descending skill at the front by taking more than 30 seconds out of Zakarin, who could do with lessons on how to go downhill. With this lead he started on the Col de Peyresourde. Zakarin gained some time on Peters on the climb of the Peyresourde, but was unable to catch the Frenchman. Peters then managed to consolidate his lead on the descent to the finish in Loudenville where he took the victory of his career.
Big win for the Frenchman
The favourites were meanwhile attacking the Col de Peyresourde quite a few minutes behind the leaders. Tom Dumoulin placed himself at the head of the pack, but it was Julian Alaphilippe who placed the first attack. Dumoulin parried the attack, after which Alaphilippe looked to blow up.
Two stage wins, but still working
Then it was Tadej Pogačar’s turn. The Slovenian saw Primoz Roglic on his wheel and a little later they were joined by Nairo Quintana, while Yates and Dumoulin couldn’t hold on. For a moment it all came together again, after which Pogacar took off with a second attack. This time Pogačar got his gap. Porte and Landa pursued in vain, and Pogacar pushed on solo.
Roglič and Quintana made their move
Before the top; Guillaume Martin tried to cross to Pogacar, but the Frenchman was also caught. On the descent, the GC riders were unable to get closer to the Slovenian, who eventually took more than half a minute back. Adam Yates retained the yellow jersey. Although the Briton appeared to be struggling on several occasions, but the yellow jersey wearer finished in the same group as Primoz Roglič.
Back in the ‘Top Ten’ for Pogačar
Stage winner, Nans Peters (AG2R-La Mondiale): “This is crazy. It was already something unbelievable to win a stage on my first participation to the Giro d’Italia last year and now it’s the same at the Tour de France. I told myself why not trying at the Tour too. It was a dream and I made it! I knew Zakarin was stronger than me up the climbs but I never gave up. I convinced myself to not crack. I had seen in the downhill of Port de Balès that he descended like a goat so I was confident to beat him in the finale of the stage. I had no ear piece, so the only info I had were by looking back. Only 2km to go I thought that I was going to win.”
Adam Yates saved the day
Overall leader, Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott): “I’m pretty happy. This was a really tough day. We let the break go because the best guy in the break was way behind in the GC, so it was a good one for us to control. At some point, the pace was a bit too high, there were attacks left and right, and I had to let it go a bit. I had to collect myself and crawl back to the group where the rest of the favorites were. I tried to do my thing, manage to stay with the best guys, and here I am. Tomorrow is another hard stage. I hope to stay out of trouble and keep the yellow jersey tomorrow. I think everyone was on the limit today.”
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Tour de France Stage 8 Result:
1. Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 4:02:12
2. Toms Skujiņš (Lat) Trek-Segafredo at 0:47
3. Carlos Verona (Spa) Movistar
4. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC at 1:09
5. Neilson Powless (USA) EF Pro Cycling at 1:41
6. Ben Hermans (Bel) Israel Start-Up Nation at 3:42
7. Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels – Vital Concept p/b KTM
8. Søren Kragh Andersen (Den) Sunweb at 4:04
9. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE Team Emirates at 6:00
10. Roman Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 6:38
11. Miguel Angel Lopez Moreno (Col) Astana at 6:40
12. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott at 6:40
13. Egan Arley Bernal Gomez (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 6:40
14. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 6:40
15. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 6:40
16. Primoz Roglic (Slo) Jumbo-Visma at 6:40
17. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkea-Samsic at 6:40
18. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 6:40
19. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 6:40
20. Enric Mas Nicolau (Spa) Movistar at 7:18
21. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 7:18
22. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 7:18
23. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 7:18
24. Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept at 7:18
25. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 7:43.
Tour de France Overall After Stage 8:
1. Adam Yates (GB) Mitchelton-Scott in 34:44:52
2. Primož Roglič (Slov) Jumbo-Visma at 0:03
3. Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis at 0:09
4. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R-La Mondiale at 0:11
5. Egan Bernal (Col) INEOS Grenadiers at 0:13
6. Nairo Quintana (Col) Arkéa Samsic
7. Miguel Ángel López (Col) Astana
8. Rigoberto Urán (Col) EF Pro Cycling
9. Tadej Pogačar (Slov) UAE-Team Emirates at 0:48
10. Enric Mas (Spa) Movistar at 1:00
11. Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) BORA-hansgrohe at 1:25
12. Mikel Landa Meana (Spa) Bahrain-McLaren at 1:34
13. Richie Porte (Aus) Trek-Segafredo at 1:34
14. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Trek-Segafredo at 2:12
15. Tom Dumoulin (Ned) Jumbo-Visma at 2:20
16. Esteban Chaves (Col) Mitchelton-Scott at 2:37
17. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) INEOS Grenadiers at 2:40
18. Damiano Caruso (Ita) Bahrain-McLaren at 2:40
19. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar at 2:41
20. Sergio Andres Higuita Garcia (Col) EF Pro Cycling at 2:48
21. Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept at 3:09
22. Hugh Carthy (GB) EF Pro Cycling at 7:52
23. Warren Barguil (Fra) Arkea-Samsic at 7:55
24. Marc Soler (Spa) Movistar at 11:03
25. Ilnur Zakarin (Rus) CCC at 11:03.