Featured image courtesy of Cor Vos
The Pyrénées have well and truly given us a thriller of a stage at the Tour de France. Stage 8 from Cazères-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle suited an early break and in Nans Peters, AG2R deserve all the plaudits for getting in the break and delivering a sensational breakaway stage win. For the GC there’s a lot to pick out so let’s go through the current standings one by one.
Adam Yates clings onto the yellow jersey. He has a three second lead over Primož Roglič, he was seen struggling to hang on to the main group of favourites but did well to bring everything back. Yates stays in yellow but for how much longer remains the lingering question. Attacks from Tadej Pogačar and Guillaume Martin certainly put his chances of staying in yellow in jeopardy but all in all Mitchelton-Scott will be pleased that their man rode his own pace to keep the lead.
Most surprising to see was that Jumbo-Visma weren’t as strong today as we expected. Yesterday’s stage winner Wout Van Aert did amazing work over the Port de Balès but on the Col de Peyresourde the numbers game was significantly down from what we saw on Mont Aigoual two days previous. Tom Dumoulin went backwards and Sepp Kuss was nowhere. The American did suffer from a fall a few days ago so is he perhaps not in the best shape?
Primož Roglič is in prime position to take the jersey if he can distance Adam Yates tomorrow. Roglič still looks good and did attack on the descent into Loudenvielle before everything came back together. Nairo Quintana even had the legs to follow Primož Roglič too, he’s looking fresh at this year’s Tour and could easily climb onto the podium come Paris.
Today was not a great day if you’re a fan of Thibaut Pinot. Clearly suffering with bad legs, the Frenchman is out of contention to win the Tour de France and after seeing those heart-breaking images last year, today was no different. Never nice to see but the objective for Pinot now changes – stage wins.
We got answers from Julian Alaphilippe today as he went backwards on the Peyresourde, clearly, we’re not going to see the same heroics as last year but while Pinot and Alaphilippe have lost time today, France now have Romain Bardet to possibly light up this Tour but also Guillaume Martin. The Cofidis rider was impressive when he attacked twice up the Peyresourde and found himself in the virtual yellow jersey at one point. Might he be the man to end the French hurt? Guillaume Martin is certainly a man that’ll need to be marked in the weeks ahead.
After getting caught out in the crosswinds to Lavaur on Stage 7, Tadej Pogačar put in a minute on the Peyresourde to claw back some precious time on his GC rivals, ride of the day and puts him back in contention to try and win the Tour de France overall. The young talent that he is, there is no surprise to see him riding exceptionally well and he can easily challenge for the yellow jersey in the coming stages. You only hope that getting caught out in the wind yesterday doesn’t become the difference in winning or losing the Tour.
Egan Bernal responded to all the attacks and stays in contention as do fellow Colombian’s Miguel Ángel López and Rigoberto Urán.
Stage winner Nans Peters deserves praise too. He took a win at the Giro last year but now he’s gone one better to take a stage win at his home Grand Tour. A great day AG2R La Mondiale as Benoit Cosnefroy remains in the polka-dot jersey, Peters himself isn’t far off in the same competition and Romain Bardet finds himself fourth overall on GC.
Peter Sagan stays in green with Sam Bennett not far behind. We are however one sprinter down as European road champion Giacomo Nizzolo pulled out of the race for NTT Pro Cycling.
One Pyrenean stage is down, one more to go before the rest day.