Tour de France Femmes Stage 8 LIVE - Fireworks expected as race approaches the Super Planche Des Belles Filles

Tour de France Femmes
Stage 8 | Mountain | women | 31.07.2022
Completed
LureLa Planche des Belles Filles
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Nick Christian
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Nick Christian
Updated 31/07/2022 at 16:13 GMT
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ANNEMIEK VAN VLEUTEN - "A DREAM COME TRUE"
“That’s actually a dream that has come true: winning in yellow, on the top… wow! It was not an easy stage. It was not an easy week. To finish here, solo, in yellow… it’s the best way.”
16:46
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ANNEMIEK VAN VLEUTEN WINS STAGE 8 AND THE TOUR DE FRANCE FEMMES!
As she headed for the summit, around the final steep left hand turn it looked absolutely brutal, but the result was never in doubt.

Demi Vollering didn't give up, though. The overall victory long gone, she wanted a stage as well as a jersey. Out of the saddle, wrestling her bike, gaining ten seconds in the last kilometre. What a pair of warriors.
Labous dug into stay on the wheel of Niewiadoma on the steepest section ahead of the flamme rouge and the pair were together all the way. Silvia Persico really wanted third on the stage and crossed the line ahead of Niewiadoma who held on for a fully earned podium place.
16:40
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FLAMME ROUGE - HERE WE GO
Van Vleuten battles the 20%+ gradients of La Super Planches Des Belles Filles, and is about to turn onto the gravel. Hopefully she's saved a few gears for this bit.
16:38
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2KM TO GO - VOLLERING OUT OF THE SADDLE
Desperately trying to find something more. She actually looks more comfortable than she did yesterday, with the shorter, steeper climb perhaps suiting her better. She's not gaining ground but I can't see her getting caught, either. The QOM looks to be in the bag.
3KM TO GO - VAN VLEUTEN LEADS BY 25 SECONDS
This is where the road really gets steep. The finish line is almost in sight, but it's going to feel like an age before they get there. Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig begins to lose contact with the Niewiadoma group, with Juliette Labous driving it on. Will the Frenchwoman attack? She needs 49 seconds on Niewadoma to get onto the podium.
16:29
4KM TO GO - NIEWIADOMA SETTING THE PACE IN GROUP 3
The Polish rider seems to have accepted that she can't move up, but she has no intention of letting go of that third podium place either.
16:27
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5KM TO GO - VAN VLEUTEN GOES AGAIN!
Over the top of Mavi Garcia, who spins the gear. Vollering goes round the Spaniard and continues to ride at tempo, neither going into the red nor losing contact completely. Van Vleuten is now the first rider on the road.
16:25
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6KM TO GO - VAN VLEUTEN ATTACKS
And quickly makes her way up to team-mate, Paula Patino. Demi Vollering dips her head and grinds her way back to the maillot jaune.
16:22
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7KM TO GO - ONTO THE SUPER PLANCHE
Pauliena Rooijakkers attacks straight away from the remains of the breakaway group. Mavi Garci fights to get on terms as the gradient rears up.
16:15
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10KM TO GO - ONE MINUTE AS THE ROAD RISES
Mavi Garcia pushes on as far as she possibly can, but the catch seems inevitable and will come before much altitude has been attained. This is the last chance for the riders to fuel up and prepare themselves for the test to come. 2km until the official start of the Super Planche Des Belles Filles.
16:08
15KM TO GO - LEAH THOMAS DROPS FROM BREAK TO BUNCH
The American immediately plonks herself right on the front of the peloton to provide service to her Trek-Segafredo leader, Elisa Longo-Borghini.
16:00
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20KM TO GO - TWO MINUTES ADVANTAGE TO THE BREAK
As the race heads towards the Super Planches Des Belles Filles, which still contains 11 riders. That's definitely going to break up before too long.
With the help of team-mate, Victoire Berteau, Rachel Neylan (Cofidis) has launched herself towards the lead group.
Niewiadoma's Canyon Sram team-mates are in charge at the front of the peloton.
15:47
30KM TO GO - "FALLING WITH STYLE"
Demi Vollering really elegant, able descender, and she is showing the rest how it's done on these steep, sharp hairpins. The maillot jaune group has gained more on the breakaway since the summit than they had managed before it. For her part, Van Vleuten hasn't lost much contact, but she is a few bike lengths off the back and is clearly less confident on this terrain.
15:38
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39KM TO GO - MAVI GARCIA TAKES TOP POINTS
The Spanish national champion leads over the summit of the Ballon d'Alsace, followed by Pauliena Rooijakkers (Canyon Sram). Vollering now leads the competition by 6 points with only 10 left to be won.
The peloton follows a minute later and, with no level road at the top, head straight onto the descent. Will the super descenders, the likes of Vollering and Niewiadoma, try to test Van Vleuten's abilities?
15:31
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41KM TO GO - ATTACK BY DEMI VOLLERING
It's not a huge one, designed to take it to Annemiek van Vleuten, or test her, but breaks up the rhythm of the group and causes a few riders to lose touch.
Shirin van Anrooij (Trek-Segafredo) in the white jersey is the main name unable to stay with the group.
15:28
"THIS IS NO PROCESSION INTO PARIS"

‘This is no procession into Paris’ – Van Vleuten forced to chase down peloton after mechanical

15:21
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44KM TO GO - ANOTHER BIKE CHANGE FOR VAN VLEUTEN
She clearly prefers the setup on the one with yellow bar tape to the full yellow. She makes sure to take her head unit with her.
Antri Christoforou (Human Powered Health) and Ane Santesteban (Team BikeExchange - Jayco) are distanced from the front group.
Demi Vollering is pulling on the front of the group of favourites.
15:13
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46KM TO GO - VAN VLEUTEN BACK ON HER OWN BIKE
Having embedded herself in the bunch, she raises her hand to signal to her team car before retreating, stopping and resuming on her lemon yellow Canyon.
The exchange is performed as quickly as it could be but still means she has to put in another effort to return to the peloton again.
15:10
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47KM TO GO - VAN VLEUTEN BRIDGES AT THE FOOT OF THE BALLON D'ALSACE
Might she be a little bit miffed that they attacked her when she had a mechancical? They could come to regret that one...
This climb is 8.7km long and averages 6.9%.
15:09
48KM TO GO - ANNEMIEK VAN VLEUTEN HAVING TO CLOSE THE GAP HERSELF

She's at the front of a group of six, none of whom are really capable of matching her, over 30 seconds behind the polka dot jersey group of Demi Vollering.

The peloton's efforts have reduced the main breakaway's advantage to almost nothing.
Don't forget that AVV is still on a team-mate's bike.