Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) took an incredible stage 8 Tour de France victory, winning from a stage long breakaway. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) was 2nd home, with Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 3rd and also taking back the race leader’s yellow jersey.
Stage 8 of the Tour de France may not have included any high mountains, but it was certainly one of the most difficult stages of this year’s edition of the race. Over 4000m of climbing was packed into the 200km stage, which mainly took place on small, twisty and grippy roads.
There was a big expectation that a large breakaway would go clear today but in the end, it was just 4-riders, one of them being our Ben King, who was the first rider to attack at the start of the stage. King was joined by 3 of the strongest riders in the race, Thomas De Gendt, Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team) and Niki Terpstra (Total Direct-Energie).
You probably couldn’t have put together a stronger 4-rider breakaway, as Robbie Mcewen mentioned they were about as strong as a 12-rider break. The peloton, fearful of the powerhouse group up the road, kept them on a short leash but this placed the entire field under immense pressure.
De Gendt, was just in another league today though, and had one of the most incredible rides of the season. First distancing King and Terpstra, and later dispatching De Marchi on the final climb of the stage.
The peloton was reduced to just 30-odd riders by the time they reached the final climb and we had Roman Kreuziger looking good among the favourites. Despite late attacks from Pinot and Alaphilippe, De Gendt was able to keep everyone at bay to win stage 8 of Le Tour.
Kreuziger finished safely in the reduced main group, and kept the hope of decent GC result alive by moving up another 3 places to 25th. Being an extremely difficult day, Team Dimension Data was happy to have all our riders finish safely within the time cut too.