A very tough medium mountain stage that takes the race into the Massif Central.
Good morning, and welcome to our live coverage of what could be a cracking stage of the 2019 Tour de France. We made it through yesterday's snoozer and the reward is this, a relentlessly undulating parcours that heads into the Massif Central. None of the seven classified climbs are above category-1 status but they add up to nearly 4,000 metres of elevation gain,
Here it is
Breakaway hopefuls will have highlighted this stage months ago. Only two riders bothered to go up the road yesterday, but this will be very different, and the stage is likely to start with a big fight to form a break.
This is also a big day for the overall contenders. A parcours like this can easily catch one or two riders out.
We'll have to wait and see if we get any fireworks between the overall contenders, but one battle sure to take centre stage is for the immediate possession of the yellow jersey. Guilio Ciccone has it, but Julian Alaphilippe wants it back, and he has amenable terrain here and tomorrow. The gap is six seconds, and even if he can't drop Ciccone, there are bonus seconds at the top of the final climb (8-5-2) and on the finish line (10-6-4).
This is the scene in Macon. The riders have all signed on and they're getting ready to roll out. The race proper is set to be waved underway at 12.25 local time.
Here's your chance to catch up on yesterday's action.
And here's Barry Ryan's preview of what should be a great weekend of racing.
Here's Alaphilippe. We mentioned those bonus seconds but does he have the team to control the race on terrain such as this? Many are predicting a big break to go and contest the stage win.
We're just a couple of kilometres away from KM0 and the start of the race.
One non-starter today, and that's Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First). The American crashed heavily early in yesterday's, and though he completed the remaining 200 kilometres, he was diagnosed with a broken thumb and has abandoned the Tour, which is a blow for Rigoberto Uran.
Christian Prudhomme rises through the sunroof of the race director's car and waves us underway.
Immediately come the first attacks.
Thomas De Gendt. Obviously.
De Gendt is joined by Niki Terpstra (Total Direct Energie) and Ben King (Dimension Data). Loads more pinging off now though.
Katusha fire a rider across and then there's a gap back to the bunch, where CCC are chasing.
It's Mads Wurtz Schmidt for Katusha, and he makes it across.
The attacks cease from behind but it hasn't let up yet. CCC seem keen to chase.
Wurtz had pretty much made contact but has now sat up. Odd.
CCC now decide not to chase but to fire Alessandro De Marchi - their version of De Gendt - over to the leading trio. The gap is 38 seconds and this is a tall order.
The peloton bunches up and slows.
Spoke too soon. Two riders attack from the bunch.
188km remaining from 200km
De Gendt, Terpstra, and King have a lead of a minute but it's still not letting up just yet. De Marchi is in the middle.
And now things let up in the peloton. The attacks are snuffed out and the teams who are happy with this small early break block the road.
That's it. That's our break:
The only question now is whether De Marchi can get across.
The three leaders are having a chat and seem to be easing up. They may well have made the decision to allow De Marchi to join them, thus adding an extra engine to their cause.
178km remaining from 200km
That indeed is the case. De Marchi makes it across to make it four in the break.
Ciccone's Trek-Segafredo have taken responsibility and are now on the front of the peloton as the gap rises to 4:30.
We have an early intermediate sprint today, after 33km, so in around 6km' time. Just four in the break, so a fair few points on offer for the green jersey hopefuls in the peloton.
Terpstra leads the break through the sprint. There's no contest for the points, but there will be when the peloton come through in five minutes' time.
It's Bahrain-Merida, once again, taking it up and leading it out for Sonny Colbrelli.
Viviani is being brought up, too.
Colbrelli has the full Bahrain train. Fair play.
Sagan is on Colbrelli's wheel.
The Bahrain riders start to peel off but Morkov comes through to take over and lead out Viviani, who gets there first.
Sagan is second ahead of Matthews and then Colbrelli, who made a right mess of that considering the lengths Bahrain went to set it up. The lead-out wasn't fast enough, though, and Morkov simply eased past to put Viviani in pole position, leaving Colbrelli scrambling on the back foot.
By my hasty calculation, the points classification now stands as follows
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe 187 pts
2 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bahrain-Merida 129
3 Elia Viviani (Ita) Deceuninck-QuickStep 128
4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 125
5 Caleb Ewan (Aus) Lotto Soudal 76
That's that excitement over. This stage isn't really about sprinting, though, and now our attention turns to the hills. The first climb is coming up in just several kilometres.
Change in the peloton. Chad Haga is riding on the front for Sunweb. Marcus Burghardt is there for Bora. They seem to have decided they're up for keeping this break in check to try and tee up Matthews and Sagan, respectively, for the stage win.
155km remaining from 200km
The gap between break and peloton stands at 5 minutes.
The break hit the first of the day's seven climbs
Col de la Croix Montmain
We spoke to Deceuninck-QuickStep DS Tom Steels this morning.
"The problem is that it's 200km on a very hard course. You look at the riders on our team and it's a little bit of a mixture of guys for the leadout, and Julian and Enric [Mas] so we don't have really big resources to control a hard stage like this," he said. "You have to make your choices and we made the choice to go a little bit more for bunch sprints and to see what happens in the harder stages. For us we have to see how the race goes a little bit, but if there is a chance to go for the bonifications I think we'll try, but it's going to be a very tricky final, a very tricky final.
"You see how you go to that final climb, it's very narrow which goes suddenly from a big road to a small road. It's a bit like a Flemish climb, so you go into that descent and it's going to be like a bunch sprint. It's going to be GC teams battling to put their rider in front and it's going to be very hectic. Even if the breakaway is gone it's still going to be very nervous at the back and not without danger. It will be very tricky. If you're not in position and if other teams see an opportunity, there could be GC riders who lose 20 seconds."
Yoann Offredo, wearing the red 'combativity' dossard after his heroics in a two-up 200km breakaway yesterday, is dangling off the back of the peloton. He fell sick yesterday evening and is in for a day of suffering just to remain in the race.
Sunweb and Bora continue to set the tempo on the climb.
Caleb Ewan is the first sprinter to be dropped.
Into the final kilometre of the climb for the break and De Gendt accelerates. His teammate Tim Wellens leads the mountains classification and De Gendt himself is seventh.
King is the only other rider who looks interested in the points as they come to the top of the climb, but he stays behind De Gendt, who scoops up five points.
Here's how the mountains classification now stands.
1 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal 43 pts
2 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 30
3 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert 27
4 Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain-Merida 13
5 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal 13
De Gendt could well move up to second place, given we still have six climbs to come.
144km remaining from 200km
Burghardt and Haga lead the peloton over the top of the first climb, 4:43 in arrears.
A short fast descent is followed by 10km or so of flat before the second climb of the day, the Cat-2 Col de la Croix de Thei.
Small split in the peloton, near the back, following the descent.
A few splits in the bunch, in fact.
That's only going to become more familiar as we get deeper into today's stage. The narrow roads and climbs will stretch and split the pack and positioning is going to be so important for the GC riders.
Looks like Egan Bernal was caught out in those splits. It has come back together now, though.
The breakaway hit the second climb with a lead of 4:30.
Col de la Croix de Thei
Movistar and Astana move up towards the front of the bunch as the peloton hit the climb.
Haga and Burghardt are still dictating, though, and the gap to the break continues to fall. 4 minutes now.
Ewan got back on on the descent and flat, but he's dropped again now.
The break are heading towards the top of the climb and again De Gendt is accelerating.
Same again: De Gendt takes the maximum five points, King follows next for three.
Hear from the Team Ineos camp after yesterday's stage and ahead of this weekend's hills.
Burghardt drags the peloton over the top of the Croix de Thel and the gap to the break has been reduced to 3:55.
125km remaining from 200km
125km to go and we now have a bit of flat, a short descent, and then a really steep little climb, the Col de la Croix Pacquet.
Susan jumping in for a spell now. Somehow this stage has proved to be less than exciting so far, but we have hopes of better things as the day goes on.
80km remaining from 200km
The gap has dropped to under four minutes, and is now at 3:36
The four leaders now start up the next climb. Behind them, the peloton is really flying along.
This is a relatively short climb, but it features a gradient of up to 12% -- and that is right where the lead group is now.
The peloton is now on its way up. Several Ineos riders, including Thomas, are working their way back up to the field through the team cars. We don't know why he was back there.
Burghardt is still at the front of the field, with a Sunweb rider right beside him. Alaphilippe is not far behind.
We hear that Thomas had a mechanical.
De Gendt again takes the mountain points, followed by King.
The four leaders are zooming down the descent. Way behind them, the sprinters are taking a more leisurely pace on their way up.
Meanwhile, Ineos has moved to the front of the field to share the lead work.
The field crosses the top of the climb and starts on their way down.
109km remaining from 200km
Everyone has survived the descent, and the gap has again fallen to 3:10.
The next climb is the cat 3 Cote d'Affoux, long (8.5km) but not steep (3.5%).
And who is at the head of the field but the indefatigable Marcus Burghardt!
The peloton has passed through the feed zone and we wish them all Bon Appetit!
WE have a change at the head of the pack. Sunweb leads now, with Trek right behind them. Cicconi is safely tucked in amongst his teammates.
There is a lot of dropping back to the team cars going on right now, with Alaphilippe and Landa amongst those joining the trend.
One km to the top for the break group.
Like a broken record here: De Gendt takes the mountain points ahead of King.
The field crosses the top of the climb with the gap now at three minutes. The break group is rapidly approaching the halfway point of this stage.
It is Chad Haga, Giro stage winner, who is doing yeoman's work for Sunweb at the head of the field.
The descent was much shorter than the ascent, and Haga leads the field through narrow village streets.
Deceunink-Quickstep has now sent a rider up to the front of the field.
Passing the baton back to Patrick, who will bring you all safely to the finish.
89km remaining from 200km
Just under 90km to go and the four escapees lead the peloton by 3:16. Everyone thought this could be a day for a breakaway win but it looks like we're heading for a small group finish or maybe even a solo win after an attack on the final climb.
Kasper Asgreen never gets a day off. He spent all day yesterday pulling the peloton (along with Monfort and Martin), and QuickStep have sent him up again as the yellow jersey for Alaphilippe (and maybe even a stage win) become an increasing possibility. Asgreen is trading turns with Haga, with Trek in formation behind.
A reminder of Alaphilippe's challenge. He trails Ciccone by a mere six seconds, and while it's difficult to see Ciccone being dropped on today's stage, there's a very intriguing array of bonus seconds on offer, both on the finish line (10-6-4), but also at the top of the final climb (8-5-2) with 12.5km to go. If the break's going to be brought back, QuickStep will surely want to get it done ahead of that climb to bring the bonus seconds into play. At 1.9km at 8%, it's a climb that suits the Frenchman. From there, it's mostly downhill to the finish in Saint-Etienne, so it's not exactly a stretch to see him winning the stage, and the two pursuits would seem to complement one another.
Quintana just had to chase back on there with Valverde. He made a bit of a schoolboy error yesterday, by stopping for a toilet break just before the peloton split. He came away unscathed, but it could have been bad. Here's the story.
72km remaining from 200km
The four leaders are almost at the foot of the fifth of the seven categorised climbs. The gap is just over 3 minutes
Col de la Croix de Part
Michael Morkov, Viviani's lead-out man, is doing some turns, so QuickStep are using their resources, even if they themselves admit they haven't got the best team for this kind of job.
Mechanical for Alaphilippe, who has to unclip and stop at the start of the climb. He's back up and running but it doesn't look like he's happy with his bike.
A mechanical, too, for Alexey Lutsenko, who's an important rider for Fuglsang, and a rider who could win a stage like this if he had the freedom to do so.
Fuglsang, meanwhile, is up near the front of the bunch as GC riders and there teams begin to position themselves. We're still 70km out but the roads are narrow and the roads constantly undulating, so being caught towards the back could have severe consequences.
Rowe has guided Thomas to the front. Erviti and Valverde are there for Quintana and Landa. Naesen for Bardet, and Houle for Fuglsang. That's the front line of the bunch now.
68km remaining from 200km
The breakaway are looking strong on the climb, and their lead has grown to 3:45.
De Gendt is upping the tempo and Terpstra is fighting to stay in now.
Sunweb ramp it up again in the peloton.
Alexander Kristoff is dropped, along with Viviani.
Terpstra loses contact up front.
King now loses the wheel too.
De Marchi comes through. He and De Gendt continue to climb together.
They reach the top now, and De Gendt once again helps himself to the maximum haul.
Terpstra and King follow over the top around 25 seconds back.
Sunweb are leading the peloton on the upper slopes, with Ineos just behind. The pace has raised significantly.
Christophe Laporte has abandoned. That leaves Cofidis without their leader and sprinter and leaves them with six riders after Nicolas Edet left the race a few days ago.
Luis Leon Sanchez (Astana) is dropped. Unexpected.
63km remaining from 200km
Sanchez' Astana teammates, though, hit the front of the bunch and lead it over the top, 3:51 behind the two leaders.
A reminder of the stage profile. A 10km descent - with a brief interruption - takes us to the foot of the next climb.
King and Terpstra are chasing at 25 seconds.
De Marchi takes far too much speed into a left-hand bend. Fortunately, there's a small run-off, and he can slow sufficiently so as not to properly crash - instead remaining upright as his bike slumps to the ground.
De Gendt slightly overcooked it too but he's away. Actually, it seems he's waiting for De Marchi, who's back up and running with a minimum of fuss.
56km remaining from 200km
De Gendt and De Marchi join forces once again and they're about to start the penultimate categorised climb. The peloton are at 4 minutes.
Here's the climb. It's the fifth Cat-2 so far.
Coming towards the foot of the descent, Astana take it up in numbers.
Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-Merida) has been dropped. That's a surprise for the rider who won on La Planche des Belles Filles two days ago.
Astana have six of their eight riders on the front of the peloton on the climb. They're starting to turn the screw, and the gap to De Gendt and De Marchi is falling. 3:45 as it stands.
Offredo is still in the race, by the way. He's 15 minutes back but fighting. The time cut will be an issue.
De Gendt and De Marchi are giving it some now, as they enter the final part of the climb, which is also the steepest.
And they come to the top. No surprise that De Gendt crosses the KOM line first to add to his collection of points.
Astana's pressure is seeing the green jersey in trouble at the very back of the reduced bunch.
Sagan is comfortably the strongest sprinter left in contention here. Riders like Matthews and Alaphilippe will be licking their lips if they hear the Slovak has been dropped.
The three-time world champion is rocking and rolling, losing the wheel at the back of the bunch. They're in the final kilometre of this climb, and he just needs to limit the damage here before closing the gap on the other side.
Terpstra and King are caught by the bunch at the top of the climb.
48km remaining from 200km
Astana lead them over. Their tempo hasn't done too much damage to De Gendt and De Marchi, though. They have 3:35 in hand.
Sagan comes over the top. He's dropped but it's only a small gap and he'll be back in shortly. One categorised climb to come but coming up after this descent is another significant uncategorised rise.
EF send Simon Clarke to the front to keep the tempo as high as possible as the road heads downhill.
41km remaining from 200km
The gap is falling as EF refuse to let this stall. 3 minutes now for De Gendt and De Marchi.
De Gendt and De Marchi are climbing again. It's not a categorised climb but it might as well be. At the top there are around 30km to the finish - a downhill section followed by the steep final climb and the run down into Saint-Etienne.
The peloton themselves hit the climb and Astana take it up again.
Sagan has worked his way up through the bunch on the descent and given himself a little margin for error. He's riding in the first 10 places.
The gradients start to bite on a narrow country lane and Sagan slips to the back of the bunch.
38km remaining from 200km
Astana still have five riders there, and EF still have numbers. The gap is down to 2:30, so it's falling, but not that quickly.
Sagan is about five from the back.
And now he's right at the back. He's on the ropes and that will fuel the legs of so many other riders.
EF turn it up another notch and Dries Devenyns is dropped. That's Alaphilippe's only real domestique. He only has Mas in there with him now, who won't be doing any work as he's a GC contender.
Split at the back of the bunch as they come over the top of the steep section. Sagan, Trentin, Van Aert all caught behind.
Kruijswijk caught out there! Van Aert is going all out to close the gap. Matthews there also.
Van Aert closes the gap and pulls up. Some thought he could win today, but his work is done.
33km remaining from 200km
Gorka Izaguirre takes it up now for Astana as Pello Bilbao peels off. Clarke is still doing the most forcing for EF. The gap drops to 2:05.
EF have Tour of Flanders winner Alberto Bettiol, and also Michael Woods, who will fancy that steep little final climb. Astana have Lutsenko, but Fugslang won Liege-Bastgone-Liege this year - could he be plotting something?
31km remaining from 200km
The gap to De Gendt and De Marchi drops below the two-minute mark. It has to be said, they're producing a great ride to hold off a bunch which is being driven along by two committed teams.
After a short downhill kick, there's another kick up before the longer downhill run to the foot of the final climb.
Alaphilippe calls for the team car.
It's a bottle - a rather sticky one - for Alaphilippe, along with a chat with his directors. And now a couple of gels.
There are around 15km to the foot of the final climb, which is where the bonus seconds lie - 8, 5, and 2 for the first three to the top. De Marchi and De Gendt are holding firm now at two minutes and are surely going to stay away for that. The stage win is another matter.
EF and Astana continue to drive the peloton on the downhill section. It's a pretty fast one at the top, so the two leaders aren't going to concede too much ground here.
24km remaining from 200km
And now the road levels a little, and requires some serious pedalling. That will work very much against De Marchi and De Gendt, who must be tiring now.
The two leaders hit a false flat section and that's really going to hurt. It's showing in the gap - 1:35 now.
A shot of our two breakaway riders
Sagan raises his hand and drops back to the team car.
It's a tailwind here, and that's what's helping De Marchi and De Gendt stay in contention here.
De Marchi and De Gendt, two examples of the rare breed of breakaway specialist, will believe in their chances here. They have to believe.
Sagan has bottles in the jersey. He surely can't be on domestique duty. Bora have Max Schachmann in there who is strong on this terrain.
The leaders are 3km from the foot of the final climb.
EF and Astana continue the charge as the road dips downhill a little more severely. The gap comes down to 1:17, so it's falling all the time, but not quickly. Not quickly enough? It's in the balance...
Crash for Thomas!
It's an Ineos pile-up as their lead rider slips out on a right-hand bend. Thomas gets a new bike and is back up and running. He has three teammates with him.
De Marchi and De Gendt hit the final climb with a lead of one minute
Cote de Jaillere
Thomas is chasing at 25 seconds. Bernal is still up front in the bunch.
14km remaining from 200km
De Gendt drops De Marchi immediately as the climb begins.
The peloton hit the climb and it's about to go full gas. Awful time for that crash for Thomas.
Thomas is on the back foot and chasing through the riders who are being dropped on this steep climb. He now just has Poels with him.
They're around 10 seconds back. Luckily there are 12km or so after the top here to get back on.
There was an Ineos bike snapped in two after that crash.
Astana take it up through Lutsenko. Fuglsang is there right behind.
Thomas is getting back in.
De Gendt is so impressive here. He still has 50 seconds! 300m from the top.
Sagan and Van Avermaet are still there in the bunch.
De Gendt, the powerful rouleur, spins a tiny gear on the steepest section, but that's it, he's over the top. Full KOM points today.
But his lead is falling as Alaphilippe goes!
Alaphilipe cross the KOM point to collect five bonus seconds. One to go.
Pinot is on the wheel and himself gets two bonus seconds.
11km remaining from 200km
Pinot comes through and works with Alaphilippe! 35 seconds to De Gendt.
We thought this was a stage where defense would be important. Well, we have a big GC rider on the attack.
Astana are leading the chase behind but the bunch has shattered
Nibali well dropped. He's out of the GC picture for good after today, surely.
Pinot and Alaphilippe have 10 seconds in hand on the bunch. 20 seconds behind De Gendt.
The bunch is reduced and strung out, and it looks like Richie Porte is working to close the gap for Ciccone. Remarkable.
Correction, it's Mollema - not Porte. As you were.
Thomas is on the back of the main GC bunch. Right in the nick of time - he made contact just before Alaphilippe burst away lit it up
It's stalling behind! Who's going to take up the chase?
Pinot and Alaphilippe have 13 seconds in hand with 8km to go. De Gendt still leads by 19 seconds. Wow.
The organisation is waning behind in the bunch of around 30 riders. Sunweb take it up for Matthews. Mollema is blowing now.
Sagan is still in there too.
Up ahead, the two Frenchmen, Pinot and Alaphilippe, are all-in here, working together. The moment of hesitation behind takes their lead out to 20 seconds.
Not much support for the GC riders in the bunch here, and everyone's running on fumes. This is a risk from Pinot but it looks like it could pay off.
Kragh Andersen is on the front for SUnweb but once he does his turn, Mas and Gaudu try and stall it for their teammates up the road.
Interesting that Mas is stalling it, given a GC rival is up the road gaining time.
5km remaining from 200km
Pinot and Alaphilippe are hurtling downhill, pedaling furiously. 20 seconds is the gap to De Gendt.
Lutsenko takes it up for Astana in the bunch, and reduces the damage. He brings it back to 12 seconds.
4km remaining from 200km
De Gendt is pulling away here, incredible. 22 seconds with 4.2 to go.
This would rank among De Gendt's very finest breakaway scalps.
The chase stalls again and Ciccone is forced to take it up himself!
3km remaining from 200km
27 seconds now for De Gendt! He's on an uphill rise but he's on his way to victory here.
Pinot and Alaphilippe are now just 10 seconds ahead of the bunch.
Sunweb are riding again but the stage win is slipping away now and surely they will stop riding soon.
The bunch has thinned out massively here.
2km remaining from 200km
Pinot and Alaphilippe find some ground again as the bunch hesitate once more. 20 seconds now! This is swaying massively.
De Gendt is slipping now, too. 16 seconds with 2.2 to go and there are still a couple of short inclines.
2km remaining from 200km
10 seconds with 2km to go! Pinot and Alaphilippe are coming back! This is in the balance. What drama!!
The time gaps are all over the place. 13 seconds is the latest check as De Gendt finds a welcome portion of downhill. 1500m to go for the Belgian.
De Gendt rounds a tight bend. He has no option but to give it everything. Pinot and Alaphilippe are so close and now 15 seconds ahead of the bunch.
1km remaining from 200km
Into the final kilometre and De Gendt is still away. He can see them chasing but he surely has enough ground.
De Gendt is going to do it. He has to give it everything, but he now sits up and puts his hands over his mouth.
Pinot takes second place, Alaphilippe third, and with it the yellow jersey.
Matthews and Sagan lead the reduced bunch home just under 20 seconds down. Big performance from Pinot.
1 Thomas De Gendt (Bel) Lotto Soudal
2 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
3 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
4 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb
5 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
6 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Mitchelton-Scott
7 Xandro Meurisse (Bel) Wanty-Gobert
8 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team
9 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos
10 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos
GC after stage 8
1 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep 34:17:59
2 Giulio Ciccone (Ita) Trek-Segafredo 0:00:23
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:00:53
4 George Bennett (NZl) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:10
5 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Ineos 0:01:12
6 Egan Bernal (Col) Team Ineos 0:01:16
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma 0:01:27
8 Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education First 0:01:38
9 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:01:42
10 Emanuel Buchmann (Ger) Bora-Hansgrohe 0:01:45
Here's what Thomas had to say
“I’m fine, but it’s just frustrating – obviously it was a key moment in the race. Woods crashed, and just took out Gianni [Moscon] and me. I got tangled in Gianni’s bike and took some time to get going. The boys did a great job. I caught up for the final bit, and moved up through the group, but by the time I was in the first 10 or 15 positions that’s when they sprinted over the top for the bonus seconds. So I was kind of gassed for a bit. It’s annoying, and frustraring, but at the same time, to come back like I did shows I had good legs. You just don’t want to give any unnecessary time away. If I hadn’t have crashed I could have followed, and it’s a totally different story today. That’s how it goes.
"I just didn’t want to ride on the front and tow everyone. Sunweb had numbers and a few others were trying to ride but there was just no speed in it. It’s frustrating – I was just sat there thinking ‘come on’."
We have a video of the Thomas crash, along with reaction from the man himself. Here's the link.
And as ever we've compiled the post-stage instant reaction
Poor Yoann Offredo spent the better part of the stage chasing, but persevered to make the time cut. Read more about his story here.
Julian Alaphilippe says he didn't play to attack today to regain the race lead, but he is thrilled it worked out that way.
Thibaut Pinot caught the ride of a lifetime with Julian Alaphilippe on stage 8, moving up to third overall and gaining 28 seconds on Geraint Thomas and the rest of the favourites. Find out more here.
Riders cry foul at Tour de France motorbikes, saying Alaphilippe slipstreamed into yellow
Thanks for following today's stage. Tune in again on Sunday for stage 9!
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