Tour de France 2019: Thomas De Gendt Wins Stage 8, Julian Alaphilippe Leads Race

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJuly 13, 2019

Belgium's Thomas de Gendt celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the eighth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 200 kilometers (125 miles) with start in Macon and finish in Saint Etienne, France, Saturday, July 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
Thibault Camus/Associated Press

Thomas De Gendt was victorious during Stage 8 of the 2019 Tour de France on Saturday.

The Belgian took early control at the front in a solo ride and maintained his lead until the finish line in Saint-Etienne.

Julian Alaphilippe claimed the yellow jersey after chasing De Gendt, but the Frenchman backed off to save energy in the final moments, and leads the general classifications by 23 seconds.

Team Ineos suffered a crash, with their lead riders bringing down champion Geraint Thomas. However, Thomas grabbed a new bike and quickly reestablished his position to finish 10th.

                

                    

Stage 8 Result

1. Thomas De Gendt, Lotto Soudal

2. Thibaut Pinot, Groupama-FDJ

3. Julian Alaphilippe, Deceuninck-QuickStep

4. Michael Matthews, Team Sunweb

5. Peter Sagan, Bora-Hansgrohe

6. Matteo Trentin, Mitchelton-Scott

7. Xandro Meurisse, Wanty-Gobert

8. Greg Van Avermaet, CCC Team

9. Egan Bernal, Team Ineos

10. Geraint Thomas, Team Ineos

                                                        

Latest General Classifications

1. Julian Alaphilippe, Deceuninck-QuickStep: 34 hours, 17 minutes, 59 seconds

2. Giulio Ciccone, Trek-Segafredo: 0:00:23

3. Thibaut Pinot, Groupama-FDJ: 0:00:53

4. George Bennett, Team Jumbo-Visma: 0:01:10

5. Geraint Thomas, Team Ineos: 0:01:12

6. Egan Bernal, Team Ineos: 0:01:16

7. Steven Kruijswijk, Team Jumbo-Visma: 0:01:27

8. Rigoberto Uran, EF Education First: 0:01:38

9. Jakob Fuglsang, Astana Pro Team: 0:01:42

10. Emanuel Buchmann, Bora-Hansgrohe: 0:01:45

The full results are available from the Tour de France's official website.

                

(FromL) US Benjamin King, Belgium's Thomas De Gendt and Netherlands' Niki Terpstra lead the race during the eighth stage of the 106th edition of the Tour de France cycling race between Macon and Saint-Etienne, on July 13, 2019. (Photo by JEFF PACHOUD / AF
JEFF PACHOUD/Getty Images

The 200-kilometre hill stage was perfect for classic racers, and riders were out of their seats, with the peloton struggling to stick together. Category climbs came thick and fast, and the competitors were gasping for breath as they battled for position.

De Gendt, Niki Terpstra and Ben King formed an early breakaway, but the three riders took the time to discuss their tactics and kept a minimal lead.

Ineos appeared to be going well when their team were involved in a crash. The collective fell at a corner, and Thomas was unseated, forcing the Tour holder to make up 25 seconds on the pack.

De Gendt continued to lead the race and built up a one-minute advantage with impressive climbing and race management.

The action remained laboured and tactical until the 10-kilometre mark from the finish. Alaphilippe was the trigger, and the rider initiated a sprint to spread the leaders.

Alaphilippe appeared to have aspirations of catching De Gendt and winning the stage, and Thibaut Pinot decided to stick with his compatriot.

However, De Gendt was calm at the front, and Alaphilippe and Pinot conceded they would not catch the eventual winner. De Gendt comfortably hung on to take the stage win, and he maintained his lead for the vast majority of the day. 

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