Adam Yates safe as Trentin grabs a top-10 on a tense stage eightSat 13 Jul 2019
European champion Matteo Trentin grabbed another top-10 finish on a thrilling stage eight of the Tour de France in Saint-Étienne.
The Italian sprinted for the minor places, eventually taking sixth place from a small bunch including Adam Yates, as a lone rider took the stage win from the original breakaway.
Big Day Ahead
There was a big fight expected as the flag dropped to get the stage underway, with the day tipped to be one for the breakaway. However, the battle failed to materialise and just three riders managed to attack clear of the field. The trio were eventually joined by one more rider to take their numbers up to four, with the peloton happy to see a small group go away.
It was soon apparent that a number of teams had no intention of letting the break stay away to contest the victory, with the escapees gaining a maximum advantage of 5’30” before the bunch pegged them back and held them at around the four minute mark.
As the break crested the fourth climb of the day with 100-kilometres remaining, the gap had fallen below three minutes, with a strong tempo being set in the bunch. Knowing that the bunch were reeling them in, the break responded and nudged their advantage out to 3’30”, but their numbers were halved on the Côte de la Croix de Part, creating two groups of two.
Just Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) and Alessandro De Marchi (CCC Team) remained in front as the race hit 50-kilometres to go, but their gap was holding firm at 3’30”, while back in the peloton several riders were finding the pace too much. However, just when it looked like the stage had swung in favour of the break, the gap fell below two-minutes as they race towards the final climb.
As the leading duo hit the foot of the climb the gap was just one minute and as the pack closed in, De Gendt attacked solo at the head of the race. As the summit came into sight, former race leader Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick Step) attacked out of the bunch over the top and was quickly followed by fellow Frenchman Thibaut Pinot (Groupama – FDJ).
The duo set about chasing down De Gendt as the peloton stalled in organising their own chase. But the pair couldn’t catch the Belgian out front as he soloed to victory from the original breakaway, while Pinot grabbed second ahead of Alaphilippe. The bunch sprinted for the minor places 26-seconds down on the winner, with Trentin taking sixth.
“The pace was on all day, even after the break had gone nobody eased up really. I was alright there, I think everyone’s kind of at a similar level, other than Alaphilippe and Pinot, they managed to chip away and get a couple of seconds, but all in all a good day, a hard day, but a good day.”
“I’ve lost a little bit of time here and there, and I’m over a minute off the GC, but I think everyone is going to say the same thing; it’s a long race and we’ve still got a lot to go, a lot of stages to come.”
“[Tomorrow] is similar to today, hopefully it’s a bit easier, hopefully everyone’s a bit tired and we can have an easier day.”
Matt White (Sports Director):
“Because of the size of the breakaway it was always one of those ones where it was touch and go whether or not it would be caught. Four incredible athletes up the road and obviously it’s a very special ride from Thomas De Gendt to be able to hold on. But I think most teams expected a bigger break, which would have been out of control and impossible to catch, and even a small break made it to the line.
"What I found interesting today was there were a lot of teams half comitted to the chase, I think if a couple of teams wanted that stage win it was certainly there to be taken, but teams started chasing, stopped chasing and it didn’t seem like there was a lot of commitment for the whole stage."
"Adam came to the line with two teammates and two of our boys from the ‘engine room’; Chris (Juul-Jensen) and Luke (Durbridge) had a really, really good ride. No surprise after to seeing how they were riding at the Giro. Simon (Yates) was doing what he’s been doing, helping his brother, he came back and got bottles and then checked out for the day."
Tour de France 2019 Stage 8 Results:
1. Thomas De Gendt (Lotto Soudal) 5:00:17
2. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama – FDJ) +0:06
3. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck - Quick Step) ST
6. Matteo Trentin (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:26
General Classification After Stage 8:
1. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–Quick-Step) 34:17:59
2. Giulio Ciccone (Trek - Segafredo) +0:23
3. Thibaut Pinot (Groupama – FDJ) +0:53
12. Adam Yates(Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:47
Photos courtesy of Getty Images.