There was a dramatic finale to stage 8 of the Tour de France, as Thomas De Gendt won from the breakaway, Julian Alaphilippe recovered the yellow jersey from Giulio Ciccone, Thibaut Pinot gained time on his GC rivals, and Geraint Thomas came back from a late crash. Here's the instant reaction.
Thomas de Gendt (Lotto Soudal) - stage winner
The bunch was coming closer but I had to go solo and try to stay ahead of them. It was just by five or 10 seconds.
I had a really good feeling all day so I believed in it all day, but we only got five minutes and it went down really quick to three and a half. We didn't go really easy but we didn't push that hard on the climb where the feed zone was. Just after that we went full because we heard those who were pulling before started to drop, so that was a moment to try and get a bigger gap again. Then we had four minutes and I really started to believe in it again. But then we almost crashed in a few corners because we were taking some risks. From 70 to go I started believing in a possible victory. But still it hurts - it hurt so much.
Also for the team, we came here to win a stage. We were really close yesterday with Caleb. Today was a day for me, where I could take my chance. I had a really good feeling the whole Tour, and today was really amazing.
Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) - new yellow jersey
It was a beautiful finale, we raced the way we like to. I had nothing to lose today, I know I can't win the Tour de France and it was going to be difficult to win the stage so even if you're six seconds off the jersey, you have to try it all for the whole thing. That's what I did in the end.
I saw that Thibaut was not far from me when I attacked, he immediately took my wheel. After that, I didn't ask myself any more questions and I think he didn't either. It was nice to escape like that together, I think the audience enjoyed it. I'm super happy to have recovered the yellow jersey this way.
It was a great opportunity that presented itself to me with a finale like this and only six seconds. Six seconds is not much but it is also a lot. Ciccone is still a good rider. I didn't just have to finish in front of him today, I had to take risks, I had to attack from afar, in the penultimate climb and that's what I did. I didn't think about winning at all, I just thought about making the effort and getting ahead ... I'm glad we did that number together. I'm very clear about what's coming up for me in the next few days but to have that jersey on my shoulders is just amazing. I hope Thibaut will get to experience it one day too.
Thibaut Pinot (Groupama-FDJ) - third place
It's a very good day, it's nothing but a positive. We've got two weeks left, we're going to try again.
It wasn't a stage where I had planned to attack so I'm happy with my day. I'm at the same level as the end of last season, I've managed my preparation. That's why I'm confident for the future. There are still two stages left before the rest day, nothing is finished. I'm the first of the favorites in general classification but it doesn't mean much, I don't dwell too much on it. With the Pyrenees, the time, everything will change quickly. But hey I'm third, if I had been told that a week ago I would have signed right away.
Giulio Ciccone (Trek-Segafredo) - former yellow jersey and now best young rider
This stage was for him, for Alaphilippe, and he won the day, tomorrow is another day, the Tour is still another day. For me tomorrow will be a good day, I have the white jersey, and for me that’s still important.
It was a very hard stage and Alaphilippe was very strong, but I’m happy with my condition and with my teammates.
Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) - points classification leader
It was a really hard stage, I suffered a lot to stay with the first group in the final climbs but I gritted my teeth, I gave it my all and managed to finish fifth, in the reduced group behind the leaders. This means I keep my lead in the green jersey but Paris is still far away. We have to take it day by day.
Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Ineos) on Geraint Thomas' crash
There was a left-right corner, so a double corner. We saw the signal for the left corner but directly after was the right one, so it was a surprise for many. It was quite dangerous. Gianni hit the deck first. G’s bike was fine so I grabbed his bike and put the chain back on and let him ride. I was trying to catch my bike, because a policeman took it. I tried to catch the group in case there was another mechanical. (ITV)
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