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VICTORY FOR DYLAN TEUNS!
Ion Izagirre (Astana) rolls across the line in second, with Mike Woods taking the last of the bonus seconds in Grand Bornand to deny Tadej Pogacar, who finishest fourth on the day. I don't think he'll mind too much about that, do you? "It's going to go down as one of the greatest performances in the history of the Tour de France," says Brian Smith.
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Stage 8 - Top Ten:
1. Dylan Teuns
2. Ion Izagirre Insausti
3. Michael Woods
4. Tadej Pogacar
5. Wout Poels
6. Simon Yates
7. Aurélien Paret-Peintre
8. Guillaume Martin
9. Mattia Cattaneo
10. Jonas Vinegaard
General Classification after Stage 8:
1. Tadej Pogacar 29h 38m 25s
2. Wout van Aert +1'48
3. Alexey Lutsenko +4'38
4. Rigoberto Uran +4'46
5. Jonas Vinegaard +5'00
6. Richard Carapaz +5'01
7. Wilco Kelderman +5'13
8. Enric Mas +5'15
9. David Gaudu +5'52
10. Peio Bilbao +6'41
1KM TO GO: TEUNS SET TO WIN THE STAGE
The Belgian has taken risks on the descent and been rewarded. As he goes under the flamme rouge, all he has to do is stay upright. Awesome ride from him, while Pogacar's has been on another level entirely.
8KM TO GO: POGACAR 30 SECONDS BEHIND TEUNS ON THE DESCENT
Dylan Teuns looks like he might just be able to hold off Pogacar to win the stage. It will be a formidable feat if he can manage it. With Poels the new King of the Mountains, it’s been another very good day for Bahrain Victorious.
As if he needed them, Pogacar claimed five bonus seconds at the top of La Combiere. Back down the road, it's worth drawing attention to how well Wout van Aert fought for the general classification. He'll finish the stage less than five minutes behind Pogacar on the day, having left a number of true climbers in his dust.
15KM TO GO: TEUNS DROPS WOODS
Dylan Teuns leaves Mike Woods behind and makes it over the top of La Colomiere alone. A few hundred metres later, Pogacar gobbles up the Canadian. He’s in the virtual GC lead and there’s now only one rider ahead of him on the road. This is frightening stuff.
17KM TO GO: TEUNS JOINS WOODS ON LA COLOMBIERE
With Tadej Pogacar closing in, Dylan Teuns catches Mike Woods 3.3km from the top of La Colombière. They'll need to work well together if they expect to hold off the Slovenian.
Whether or not Tadej Pogacar manages to complete his assault on the yellow jersey seems somewhat immaterial at this point. He is, undeniably, the strongest rider in this race by a country kilometre. No-one can even try stay with him. "He's in the big ring!" says a flabbergasted Dan Lloyd.
23KM TO GO: MICHAEL WOODS LEADS BY ONE MINUTE
We’re on the descent of the Col de Romme and Michael Woods is taking the slippery hairpins as carefully as he can. It might cost him a few seconds, but nothing like as many as if he were to slide off the road. The Canadian took ten points at the top of the climb. Wout Poels, was second with 8 and is our new virtual maillot a pois.
KOM Result at the top of the Col de Romme:
KOM Result at the top of the Col de Romme:
1. Michael Woods, 10 pts
2. Poels, 8 pts
3. Quintana, 6 pts
4. G. Martin, 4 pts
5. Yates, 2 pts
6. Cattaneo, 1 pt
2. Poels, 8 pts
3. Quintana, 6 pts
4. G. Martin, 4 pts
5. Yates, 2 pts
6. Cattaneo, 1 pt
28KM TO GO: POGACAR REELS RIDERS IN AT WILL
Søren Kragh Andersen can only look on in amazement as Tadej Pogacar passes him with ease. Michael Woods is almost four minutes further up the road, but there’s a lot of climbing still to go today. Don’t put it past Pogacar to not only take the yellow jersey but the stage as well. "This is looking like a frightening performance," says Carlton Kirby.
30.5KM TO GO: POGACAR ATTACKS
Yes, is the answer. His UAE Emirates team-mate, Davide Formolo, can offer no more in front of his leader. The Italian grimaces for one last time, pulls to the side, and the Slovenian makes his move. The only rider able to follow him is Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) but the Ecuador rider can't stay with the reigning champion for long.
32KM TO GO: VAN DER POEL AND VAN AERT ARE DROPPED
That acceleration by Ineos Grenadiers looks to have done for the Tour’s top two. We now seem sure to have a new maillot jaune at the end of the stage, but who will be replacing MVDP in yellow? Pogacar is looking strong as you like. Will he seize the opportunity?
35KM TO GO: KRAGH ANDERSEN EXTENDS HIS LEAD ON THE COL DE ROMME, MIKE WOODS GOES HUNTING
As Søren Kragh Andersen nears the virtual lead of the race, Canadian Mike Woods reaches him and goes straight past to become the leader on the road. At the same time, further behind on the 8.8km climb, Ineos Grenadiers, in the shape of Michal Kwiatkowski and Tao Geoghegan Hart, begin to push the pace in the yellow jersey group behind. It’s all in the balance, there’s a lot going on, but we’re doing our best to keep on top of it all...
39KM TO GO: TEAM DSM ATTACK ON THE DESCENT
Tiesj Benoot and Søren Kragh Andersen, both of Team DSM, have gone for it on this treacherous descent. The latter is the highest placed rider in the overall, at 6 minutes, 30 seconds. With a lead on the road of five and a half minutes, he could yet be in the yellow jersey at the end of the stage.
Meanwhile the TV cameras cut to an Astana rider, Stefan De Bod, who has crashed on the slippery downhill. Despite appearing to be spark out in someone's driveway, his team inexplicably puts the South African back on his bike and sends him on his way. "We hope that it's the right thing to do," says Rob Hatch.
47KM TO GO: ELISSONDE LIGHTS THINGS UP
A kilometre from the top of the climb, Kenny Elissonde is the first to attack. Sepp Kuss and Wout Poels aren’t far behind, before Poels rides away and takes ten points in the KOM competition. Nairo Quintana rolls over the line in second.
49KM TO GO: WHO’S IN IT TO WIN IT?
With the race warming up again, 2.5km from the top of the first of three hefty climbs, it’s time to start speculating as to who’s going to take the stage. The Eurosport team is confident it’ll be going to the breakaway, but which of them stands the best chance? Nairo Quintana, with 46 wins (three of them at the Tour) to his name, would probably be the favourite on paper - and he's said his target at this race is a stage win - but Simon Yates (23 wins, two at the Tour) and Michael Woods (eight career victories) have to be strong contenders too.
54KM TO GO: VALVERDE DROPS BACK
The 41 year-old has sat up from the break and seems to be returning to the yellow jersey group. Dan Lloyd and Brian Smith speculate that he’s been instructed to do so by his team car, in order to support team-mate Miguel Angel Lopez. Meanwhile, as the head of the race begins climbing, Wout Poels has been absorbed by the chasers.
62KM TO GO: HEADING TO THE HIGHEST HILLS
Coming up is the first climb of this year’s Tour higher of first category or higher, the Côte de Mont-Saxonnex, in ten kilometres or so. With a serious set of mountains points on offer at the summit, if Matej Mohoric can’t retain the jersey himself, Poels is going to be looking to keep it in the team. The points on the summit will be divided as follows: 10-8-6-4-2-1. A bigger priority for Poels will be the stage, though. Although his palmares is adorned with stages from almost every multi-day race you can name, as well as a Monument, the Dutch rider has never won one in a Grand Tour.
72KM TO GO: THE RACE FINALLY SETTLES DOWN
Or it seems to be, until Michael Woods, possibly after being bellowed at over the radio, realises he might have missed out on the break of the day and is forced to make chase. The escape is made up of Kuss, Castroviejo, Woods, Elissonde, Cattaneo, Valverde, Armirail, G. Martin, Paret-Peintre, Quintana, Kragh, Benoot, Teuns, Juul-Jensen, Yates, Izagirre, Peters and Henao. It's a "super group" as Rob Hatch says, but none are a significant threat to either the actual yellow jersey, or any of the current pretenders to the crown. Wout Poels is still up ahead of all of them, hoovering up minor mountains points.
Sounds like the truck has been cleared from the road. Phew.
78KM TO GO: A CHANGE OF DIRECTION?
Could the race be forced to re-route? Israel Start-up Nation are a reporting a blockage on the next climb...
85KM TO GO: WOUT VAN AERT ATTACKS
The Belgian makes a move off the front of the yellow jersey group and Tadej Pogacar, giving nothing away, takes up the chase himself. Does the reigning champion have an infinite supply of matches to burn or could this cost him later in the stage?
92KM TO GO: PRIMOZ LOOKS COOKED
As a camera cruelly concentrates its gaze on the Slovenian, Roglic appears to have all but given up. He has not been able to stay with the peloton, is now north of five minutes behind, and looks to be sliding back towards the grupetto.
95KM TO GO: STILL NO BREAKS BUT THE RACE IS ALL OVER THE ROAD
There is a group of twenty or so riders at the front of the race, from which a break might yet emerge. There are some strong climbers in it, such as Wout Poels, Michael Woods (Israel Start-up Nation), Simon Yates (BikeExchange) and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Premier Tech) as well as the white and polka jerseys. They’ve got a gap on the maillot jaune group of 10 to 15 seconds as we approach the first categorised climb of the day, the Cote de Copponex.
105KM TO GO: COLBRELLI TAKES THE INTERMEDIATE SPRINT
Sonny Colbrelli comfortably claims the maximum 20 points at the intermediate sprint. Michael Matthews is next in line with 17 points, with Matej Mohoric's room-mate Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) taking 13 points in third. Colbrelli is now 82 points behind Mark Cavendish in that contest.
A stat comes through telling us that Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo Visma) is the only rider to have finished inside the top 25 on each one of the seven stages so far. A continuation of that run could see him in yellow at the end of the day.
112KM TO GO: ROGLIC’S WOES CONTINUE
Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo Visma) has lost touch with the main group of contenders but only by a dozen seconds or thereabouts, so all is not quite lost.
Geraint Thomas, however, looks to be out of contention completely. His group is now at 3.43 behind the front of the race.
118KM TO GO: THE FIGHT(S) FOR POINTS
With Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck Quick-Step) already out of the reckoning for today's green jersey points, his punchier rivals are hoping to claim back a few at the first intermediate sprint. Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) leads the way in those fine Italian stripes, with Michael Matthews not far behind him. Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) isn’t going to let go of his maillot a poids without a fight, and has been very visible at the front as well.
123.2KM: TWO MINUTES SEPARATING TWO LARGE GROUPS
The first contains most of the top table favourites, with the second populated primarily by sprinters and their ilk - but also Thomas, Chris Froome (Israel Start-up Nation) and several of Pogacar's UAE Emirates key team-mates.
Brian Smith says he expects the groups to come back together once an acceptable break is able to get away. That might not be for a while, as Wout van Aert (Team Jumbo Visma) is trying to slip into it himself, which would make it a very unacceptable breakaway to most teams.
132.7KM TO GO: GERAINT THOMAS IN TROUBLE
We saw Geraint Thomas struggling early on the first climb, and have now been given graphical proof. The race has split into two distinct bunches, with a sizeable gap of 1.4km between them, and Ineos Grenadiers’ leader is in the second group.
140KM TO GO: WOUT IN FRONT ON HIS OWN
As expected, it’s been a hard start to the stage. Riders are dropping off the back like flies as Wout Poels has pushed the pace on the climb. He already holds a 13 second lead as he descends from the Forêt d'Échallon. He'll want a bit of company if this move is going to go anywhere.
Pity the poor sprinters today. There may not be as many kilometres to ride as yesterday, but it’ll definitely feel like it for the likes of Arnaud Demare and Mark Cavendish. Will the time limit be a concern for their teams?
150.8KM TO GO - READY, SET, GO ON STAGE 8
With all the other jerseys as they were, Matej Mohoric is looking resplendent as the new boy in polka dots. There are 33 mountains points on offer today so he’ll have a job on his hands keeping it.
As the peloton passes KM0, there's a BikeExchange rider off the back. Christian Prudhomme rises out of the car and waves his arms to tell the riders to slow down, so he can get back to the bunch. And they’re off!
HUP HUP AND AWAY
What do you think today has in store? Will it be a stage to take stock, granting us time to catch our breaths after yesterday’s excitement? At this year’s Tour? Not a chance. With maybe ten kilometres of true horizontal over 150km and change - some 100km less than yesterday’s Monument-al stage - starting with an uncategorized 6km climb, we can expect action from the first flutter of Prudy’s flag.
While it remains reasonable to regard Tadej Pogacar as the race leader-in-waiting, it’s far less of a foregone conclusion than it was 24 hours ago.
Eight seconds behind Mathieu Van der Poel yesterday morning, today Pogacar needs to beat MVDP by the better part of four minutes to relieve him of the yellow jersey. A more meaningful challenge can be found wearing stripes of red and black as well. With Primoz Roglic shipping just shy of four minutes in the final 20km of Stage 7, Wout van Aert *is* Jumbo Visma’s leader, but how ready is he to take on a GC battle? The Belgian says he's
Then there’s a certain Sicilian shark looming menacingly in Pogacar’s mirrors...
After yesterday’s hilly amuse-bouche Stage 8 sees the Tour take to the mountains proper. Despite what some will tell you, we’re not quite in the Alps quite yet, but the Jura. Hup hup hup!
STAGE 7 RECAP
On this fabulous Tour de France which keeps serving up scripts to savour, Mathieu van der Poel defended his yellow jersey with grit and determination after battling into a large breakaway alongside his old friend Wout van Aert, the green jersey Mark Cavendish, and the 2015 champion Vincenzo Nibali, as defending champion Tadej Pogacar found his UAE Team Emirates squad under the cosh from the get-go during the longest stage of the race.
If Pogacar weathered the storm, the same could not be said of his fellow Slovenian star Primoz Roglic, who emerged from the 249km schlep from Vierzon to Le Creusot as the big loser after being dropped on the penultimate climb inside the final 20km.
An isolated Roglic eventually crossed the line over nine minutes down on his compatriot Mohoric, who took maximum points over all five climbs before soloing to an emotional win that saw the Bahrain-Victorious rider complete a set of stage wins on all three of cycling’s Grand Tours.
'Not just about Roglic and Pogacar' - Emotional Mohoric claims Tour de France Stage 7 win
Milan-Sanremo winner Jasper Stuyven (Trek-Segafredo) took second place at 1’20” before Magnus Cort (EF Education-Nippo) led home a select group that also included Van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) and Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma).
The surviving remnants of the original 29-man break came over the line in drips and drabs before world champion Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) led the main field of favourites home 5’15” down after a late move by Ecuador’s Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers) was snuffed out just metres before the line.
Pogacar, the white jersey, was part of this main pack but it was the best part of four minutes before compatriot Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) trundled over the line after the 31-year-old was dropped on the double-digit ramps of the Signal d’Uchon climb on its first appearance in the race. It was on this uphill test, with 19km to go, where Mohoric made his decisive move, riding clear of Belgians Stuyven and Brent Van Moer (Lotto Soudal) in pursuit of glory.
Van der Poel will now enter a tough weekend in the Alps with the yellow jersey still firmly across his shoulders, the inseparable Van Aert now his nearest challenger at 30 seconds. Denmark’s Kasper Asgreen, who led out Deceuninck-QuickStep teammate Mark Cavendish for the intermediate sprint points before trying his hand in the hills, moved up to third place on GC at 1’49” while Mohoric rose 29 places to fourth after his victory.
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