Simon Yates (Orica-Scott) made it through stage 8 of the Tour de France with his lead in the young rider's classification intact, despite repeated attacks from Emmanuel Buchmann (Bora-Hansgrohe), one of his main rivals for the white jersey.
Buchmann failed to gain any time, and only Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert) was able to take a few seconds out of Yates by claiming the bonus for third place, after leading home the group of favourites.
"It was a really hard stage. We knew from the beginning that it was going to be hard because there were so many guys that wanted to go into the breakaway and this was one of the only chances for them to get away," Yates said after collecting his fourth white jersey of the Tour.
"There were a lot of attacks today, and we're expecting another hard day on the books tomorrow. We'll see how the weather goes, but it looks like there might be a bit of rain."
It is still tight at the top of the young rider's classification, and Yates is by no means secure in it just yet. He leads AG2R La Mondiale's Pierre Latour – who led the competition until Planches des Belles Filles - by just 24 seconds, with Louis Meintjes at 41 and Buchmann at 46, while Martin is a much larger chunk back at 1:40.
The top five in the white jersey competition were well matched on stage 8, but Sunday's brutal onslaught from Nantua to Chambery will have a big impact on the competition, as much as it will take hold of the main fight for the yellow jersey. Yates is expecting it to be a tough day out as the opening week of racing comes to a close.
"We did the final in the Dauphine, and for sure it is a difficult final," Yates explained. "We know that it's a tricky descent, but I think that there are a lot of guys that are also worried about the climbs before. It will be a monster of a stage, and surely it's going to be crucial for the general classification.
"Of course, I like to race. Hopefully, I have good legs on the day and if I have good legs, then I can try something. We will have to see on the day. If you don't have good legs it could be a long day."
The climbing on Sunday begins almost immediately, as it needs to in order to put in as many climbing metres as the organisers have. It will be easy to get caught cold if you've not properly got ready and Yates says that, while many will take to the rollers and turbo to get ready ahead of the stage, he prefers to keep cool on the team bus.
"It depends on the feeling at the start. A lot of the guys like to go on the home trainer at the start to warm up a little bit and spin the legs," he said. "For me, it depends on how warm it is. If it's already really warm, then I prefer to keep the core temperature down and not waste any energy on the home trainer. Some guys are different, and some guys prefer to do a bit of a warm up."
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