The first day in the Pyrenees provided the anticipated fireworks at the Tour de France, with defending champion Chris Froome (Team Sky) landing the final volley of the day. The two-time winner put in a daring attack over the top of the final climb, then sailed down the mountain - at times using the awkward-looking tuck-and-pedal aero style - to hold off his general classification rivals for the stage win and take the overall race lead.
Stage 8's 183km route from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon included four classified climbs before a 15km descent to the finish. A difficult day of racing was made even harder when the breakaway didn't stick until the slopes of the Tourmalet, where Thibaut Pinot and Rafa Majka joined a small group. The escapees' fate was sealed by the general classification behind, however, as Sky and Movistar worked to bring them back before the overall-battle fireworks built to a crescendo with Movistar's Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde pressing the issue on the final climb. Froome's unlikely downhill attack provided a fitting finale to the opening day in the mountains.