A guide to the Tour de France
9th July 2016
Chris Froome won Stage 8 today, flying away from the other favourites on the descent Bagnères-de-Luchon.
The eighth stage of the 2016 Tour de France from Pau to Bagnères-de-Luchon was the main French Pyrenean stage of this year's race, with four categorised climbs. The hors catégorie Col du Tourmalet, and the Category 1 Col de Peyresourde, book-ended two other ascents. There was then a descent to the finish at Bagnères-de-Luchon.
Froome crested the Col de Peyresourde first, and he took Nairo Quintana by surprise - as Quintana took a water bottle, Froome accelerated away, getting a gap. The Sky rider was off his saddle for much of the descent, sitting on the crossbar à la Voeckler. He stayed ahead of a slightly half-hearted chase, to reach the line 13s before the chasers.
Froome gains another 10s time bonus for winning the stage. Dan Martin was second, Joaquim Rodriguez third, and Romain Bardet fourth. Also in the Martin group were Kreuziger, Aru, Adam Yates, Valverde, Mollema, Porte, Quintana, Van Garderen, and Meintjes.
This is a video of the closing stages of Stage 8:
There was a three-man breakaway with Thibaut Pinot, Rafal Majka, and Tony Martin. Thibaut Pinot crested the first climb, the Col du Tourmalet, in the lead.
The trio's lead reached 2min40, but the Sky- and Movistar-led peloton began to close on the second climb, the Hourquette d'Ancizan. The break was caught on the lower slopes of the third climb of the day, the Col de Val Louron-Azet. 34 riders in the leading group were led over the top of Val Louron-Azet by Team Sky
Sergio Henao was the last of Froome's domestiques at the front towards the top of the final climb, the Col de Peyresourde. The attacks came about 2km from the top - first from Henao, then Froome, then Dan Martin, then Romain Bardet.
Froome was first to the top of the Peyresourde, and he immediately attacked from the summit. He got a small gap, and descended off the saddle, sitting on the crossbar, and pedalling like billy-ho.
After the race, Froome said, 'It definitely wasn't planned. Just as we were going over the top, I thought why not, let me give it a go. I knew the descent was long and fast, and I had some pretty good gears on today, bigger gearing, so it was in the back of my mind, I was thinking maybe I could try this, and I tried and I heard Sergio on the radio saying, yeah you've got a gap, go go go, keep going. So I just rode it as best I could to the finish, and I mean I know I did spend a lot of energy there, but I imagine everyone was pedalling pretty fast on that descent. We do mess around in training, racing each other downhill sometimes. That obviously comes in handy. Am I in yellow? I didn't expect it.'
Adam Yates stays in the white jersey. He said, 'As everyone saw, I had a bit of bad luck yesterday. I'm ok. A few stitches in my chin, a few cuts and bruises. Today was pretty tough, but I got through ok. I was on the limit on the Peyresourde. Same again tomorrow.'
CyclingNews has the full race results and overall standings.
This is the Stage 8 highlights video:
The 2016 Tour de France begins at Mont St Michel, in the Manche département of France. It tackles the Pyrenees before the Alps, and as always there's a final processional stage to Paris.
Stage 9 starts in Vielha Val d'Aran in Spain, just over the border from Bagnères-de-Luchon (where Stage 8 finishes). It's a Pyrenean mountain stage, and the climbing starts from the moment the flag goes down. The first part of the day is in Catalonia, Spain, with climbs of the Port de la Bonaigua (Cat. 1) and the Port del Canto (Cat. 1). Shortly after the race crosses into Andorra, there's an intermediate sprint in the Andorran capital, Andorra la Vella. Then, there are three more climbs - the Côte de la Comella (Cat. 2), the Col de Beixalis (Cat. 1), and the final climb to a summit finish at Andorra Arcalis (hors catégorie, and finishing at an altitude of 2,240m). The riders will probably be relieved that Stage 9 is followed by a rest day. Read about Stage 9, Tour de France 2016.
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