Tour de France: De Gendt wins Stage 8, Alaphilippe regains yellow jersey

Jose Verdugo
Julio 14, 2019

France's Julian Alaphilippe celebrates his overall leader's yellow jersey on the podium of the eighth stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Macon and Saint-Etienne, in Saint-Etienne, eastern France, on July 13, 2019.

He hopped on a replacement as the team battled back to join the peloton, but Thomas ended up losing time overall to rivals Julian Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot of France.

Defending champ Geraint Thomas of Wales survived a spectacular crash 15 kilometres from the finish and crossed the line 20 seconds behind Alaphilippe. But Pinot is in the form of his life.

There's no let up on Sunday - France's national day - with Stage 9 presenting an equally relentless 170.5km of rolling terrain.

De Gendt's incredible victory came after he was part of the original breakaway group of four before outlasting his fellow escapees, a charging peloton and then Alaphilippe and Pinot in the frantic closing stages.

"I was ready for Julian's attack since last night and all day I was waiting for it because I had great legs", said Pinot, who like Milan-San Remo champion Alaphilippe holds a "Monument" classic title as he won the Giro Di Lombardia last October. "G's bike was fine and I just put the chain back on and let him ride", Kwiatkowski explained.

"By the time I got up to the group I was gassed for a bit and obviously that's when they started to sprint away", Thomas continued.

Alaphilippe has erased his six-second deficit from the Italian debutant Giulio Ciccone. I've had very good feeling already for the whole Tour and I had unbelievable legs today'.

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Echoing former teammate Porte, Thomas highlighted the threat that the French pair pose heading into the second week. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) +0:06 3.

This time, he said he was taken out by Michael Woods when the Canadian rider crashed going around a right-hand bend. Woods later rode in with torn shorts.

Determined to shine on a day suited for "bardoudeurs" - a French word used to describe breakaway riders capable of winning on their own - De Gendt spent the day at the front.

"I had really good feelings all day".

New Zealand's George Bennett of Team Jumbo-Visma occupies fourth spot.

"Full respect to the team again for giving it a shot and I'm happy with the legs today."

On a 200km stage that featured seven categorised ascents and almost 4000m of climbing, riders finished in dribs and drabs behind a 35-man peloton - some still coming home almost half an hour later.

"It was a fantastic finale, it was handsome to go together like this and we showed that we can work together even if we're in different teams", said Alaphilippe, whose move was highly expected as bonus seconds were up for grabs in the ascent to the Cote de la Jaillere and at the finish.

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