Tour de France Stg 8 Nans Peters climbs into win, Yates holds Yellow
France’s Nans Peters claimed a epic solo win on stage eight of the Tour de France as it hit the Pyrenees.
Britain's Adam Yates held on to the Tour de France leader's yellow jersey.
Nans Peters “This is the best victory of my professional career. At the same time, I only have two! I went to look for it in my way, in a mountain stage, in front of everyone. It’s crazy. When we had a 12 minute lead, I knew we were going to play for the win. I thought to myself, “Focus on winning the stage! “. When I dropped Zakarin on the descent from Port de Bales, I thought I wouldn’t give up. I enjoyed it in the last 500 meters because I didn’t do that last year in my stage victory at the Giro. What a day for our team. The stage victory, the polka dot jersey and Romain going very strong.”
It was a very tough stage over 141km-route from Cazeres-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle scattered the peloton.
Tour de France race leader Yates had to dig deep to hold onto the yellow jersey on stage eight as the race headed into the Pyrenees for this first time in this year’s edition.
The UAE Tour winner was distanced several times on the final climb, but his rivals failed to wrestle the race lead from his grasp as the 28-year-old clawed his way back time after time.
Tomorrow will be the fourth day for Yates in the maillot jaune and another challenging and important mountain stage, with his closest rival Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma) close behind at a three-second deficit.
As well as being a day set for a general classification battle, the stage was also another chance for the breakaway to succeed and a fight to escapee began as soon as the flag dropped. Eventually 13 riders were allowed to go clear as the peloton sat up and knocked off the pace.
The gap to the escapees quickly stretched out and reached a maximum of 14 minutes before the race arrived at the first categorised climb of the day. Mitchelton-SCOTT assumed their position at the head of the peloton, with Kiwi duo Sam Bewley and Jack Bauer taking turns on the front.
The gap held steady over the Col de Menté before Team Jumbo-Visma took over the pace making in the peloton on the approach to the Port de Balès, the longest climb of the race so far. The Dutch team continued to press on up the ascent, with Yates sitting just behind them alongside Colombian teammate Esteban Chaves.
The peloton had been reduced to a group of general classification contenders and a host of domestiques by the time they hit the summit. With the breakaway set to take the stage victory, a GC battle was imminent on the Col de Peyresourde.
Former race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick Step) was the first to attack, but his move was short-lived and spelled the end of his chances. Tom Dumoulin (Team Jumbo-Visma) then upped the pace and put several riders into difficulty, including Yates. Tadej Pogačar (UAE-Team Emirates) was the next to make a move and the Slovenia’s attack drew out Nairo Quintana (Team Arkea Samsic) and Primoz Roglic (Team Jumbo-Visma).
Yates continued to ride at his own tempo and made it back the GC favourites before Pogačar attacked again. This time there was no movement from his rivals, with race leader Yates clinging onto the wheels, unable to react.
As the summit approached Guillaume Martin (Cofidis Solutions Crédits) jumped away, and sitting only nine seconds down on the GC, the move posed a threat to the yellow jersey. However, Yates couldn't follow as his rivals hunted the Frenchman down, with the Brit again forced to claw his way back on his own.
The danger looked to be over as the group crested the summit, but a late attack from Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) required a reaction from Yates. The Frenchman managed to steal two seconds back in the overall standings, but an impressive and resilient ride from Yates was rewarded with a fourth day in the yellow jersey tomorrow.
"It was a really tough day, in then beginning we let the break go, it was a good breakaway, I think the first guy was 17 minutes down, so it was easy for us to control.
"Then later on in the stage Jumbo-Visma came up and started pushing the pace real hard, and they rode pretty much full gas from when they got on the front until the finish. In the end I did my thing, tried to stay with the best guys and in the end, here we are.
"Dumoulin set a ferocious pace and I just couldn’t hold the wheel, I had to ride at my own pace a little bit, so I could collect myself. I clawed my way back and over the top I manged to stay with the guys, so like I said before, all-in-all a good day.
"Tomorrow is a very similar stage, if we can hold on for another day, the day after that is the rest day, so hopefully we can hold on until then. Who knows what’s going to happen?"
Stage eight result
1 - Nans Peters (Fra - AG2R-La Mondiale) 4hrs 02mins 12secs
2 - Toms Skujins (Lat - Trek-Segafredo) +47secs
3 - Carlos Verona (Spa - Movistar) Same time
4 - Ilnur Zakarin (Rus - CCC) +1mins 09secs
5 - Neilson Powless (US - EF Pro Cycling) +1mins 41secs
6 - Ben Hermans (Bel - Israel Start-Up Nation) +3mins 42secs
7 - Quentin Pacher (Fra - B&B Hotels-Vital Concept) Same time
8 - Soren Kragh Anderson (Den - Sun) 4mins 04secs
9 - Tadej Pogacar (Slo - UAE-Team Emirates) 6mins 00secs
10 - Romain Bardet (Fra - AG2R-La Mondiale) 6mins 38secs
1 - Adam Yates (GB - Mitchelton-Scott) 34hrs 44mins 52secs
2 - Primoz Roglic (Slo - Jumbo-Visma) +3secs
3 - Guillaume Martin (Fra - Cofidis) +9secs
4 - Romain Bardet (Fra - AG2R-La Mondiale) +11secs
5 - Egan Bernal (Col - Ineos Grenadiers) +13secs
6 - Nairo Quintana (Col - Arkea-Samsic) Same time
7 - Miguel Angel Lopez (Col - Astana)
8 - Rigoberto Uran (Col - EF Pro Cycling)
9 - Tadej Pogacar (Slo - UAE-Team Emirates) +48secs
10 - Enric Mas (Spa - Movistar) +1mins 00secs