Lotto Soudal's Thomas De Gendt held off a rampant Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) to win stage 8 of the Tour de France in Saint-Etienne on Saturday. The Belgian was the last remaining member of the day's four-man breakaway, but Alaphilippe's late attack saw the Frenchman retake the yellow jersey from overnight leader Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo).
Pinot's reaction to Alaphilippe's attack moved the overall contender clear of his GC rivals, and the 29-year-old now leads the list of potential winners by 19 seconds from Geraint Thomas (Team Ineos), with Alaphilippe expected to eventually fade out of contention once the race hits the Pyrenees for stage 12 on Thursday.
Defending Tour champion Thomas survived a late scare when he and Team Ineos teammates Gianni Moscon and Michal Kwiatkowski crashed with EF Education First's Michael Woods on a descent with 15km to go. The Welshman quickly remounted and was helped back to the main group of favourites ahead of the day's final climb, but it perhaps prevented him from reacting to the Alaphilippe and Pinot attack that was soon to come.
Watch De Gendt take what was his second Tour stage win in style, as Alaphilippe and Pinot come away as the day's other winners – in the process putting a smile on French fans' faces as the celebrations kick in for Bastille Day on Sunday.