On a cold and rainy day, the peloton finally reached the mountains for the first of two stages this weekend in the Alps. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) broke away to win Tour de France Stage 8: Oyonnnaz > Le Grand-Bornand. However, the big story for Stage 8 was that Mathieu van der Poel finally relinquished the yellow jersey to defending champion Tadej Pogacar, who finished fourth overall and opened nearly a two minute lead.
Bahrain Victorious secured back-to-back stage victories at the 2021 Le Tour after a courageous and daring performance from Teuns. BV moved into first place in the team category with a 14-minute gap over Astana-Premier Tech and AG2R, and they also extended a 20-plus minute lead over the big boys — Jumbo-Visma and Ineos Grenadiers.
|2021 TOUR de FRANCE – STAGE 8 RESULTS|
- Dylan Teuns (Bahrain Victorious) 3:54:41
- Ion Izagirre Insausti (Astana-Premier Tech) +00:44
- Michael Woods (Israel Start-up Nation) +00:47
As expected, Van der Poel is no longer in the yellow jersey after defending it for nearly a week. He tumbled to 23rd overall and he’s 17:20 off the lead.
Wout Van Aert moved into second overall, but he’s 1:48 behind Pogacar after struggling to climb Colombier. Pogacar extended his lead to over five minutes on his biggest rival, Ricard Carapaz (Ineos), who is currently in sixth overall.
Here's the final KM ⬇️
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 3, 2021
Stage 8: Oyonnax > Le Grand Bornard
The Tour de France reached the mountains, where the real race begins. Stage 8, a 150.8 km route from Oyonnax to Le Grand Bornard, included an ascent of the legendary Colombiere and a downhill finish at Le Grand Bornard.
“I felt good in this weather,” said Pogacar. “Felt great. I decided before the last three climbs — let’s try to win the race — and we did it.”
Pogacar made his move during a Category 1 ascent of Col de Romme, which was the second of three grueling climbs in Stage 8. Richard Carapaz from Ineos was the only other rider in the chase pack that stuck to Pogacar’s wheel. The two would ride together for a bit before Pogacar dropped Carapaz and gave chase of the breakaway leaders that included Ion Izaguirre (Astana-PremierTech), Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation).
Pogacar dominated his ascent of Colombiere, a punishing 7.5 km climb with gradients at 8.5%. Teuns caught the leaders just three km from the summit. Teuns went full gas on the descent and did not pay heed to the dangerous road conditions. The Belgian nearly wiped out on a hairpin turn when his pedal scrapped a retaining wall. He recovered and narrowly escaped a devastating crash to hold on to the stage win.
Pogacar could’ve caught Teuns if the weather conditions were not dangerous. Once he secured the yellow jersey, Pogacar wisely took it easy on the descent of Colombiere and cruised to a fourth-place finish in the stage. He looked strong while snagging the yellow jersey, but there’s still two more weeks of Le Tour remaining.
“Now we are in yellow and we are prepared to defend because we showed that we are a super-strong team,” said Pogacar.
On Deck Stage 9: Clueses > Tignes
There’s another arduous day in the Alps before the peloton is rewarded their first rest day of Le Tour. Stage 9 begins in Clueses and concludes 145 km later with an uphill finish at Tignes. The second day in the Alps includes a pair of Category 1 climbs and a treacherous Category H at Col du Pre. The race also hugs Vanoise National Park, which is known for majestic lakes and glaciers.
|2021 LE TOUR – OVERALL GC STANDINGS|
- Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 29:38:25
- Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) +01:48
- Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Premier Tech) +04:38
- Rigoberto Uran (Education-Nippo) +04:46
- Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +05:00
If you want to back Pogacar to win the 2021 Tour de France, you missed your shot to grab value because his odds are currently astronomical at -1667 via DraftKings.
Carapaz, currently in sixth in the GC, trails Pogacar by 5:01. Oddsmakers listed Carapaz at +1800 odds, or the closest challenger to Pogacar. Van Aert, holding down second place, is +3300 odds to pull off the upset.
After winning Stage 1, Julian Alaphilippe has been quiet over the last week. There were high expectations for him in Stage 8, but he was unable to unleash his insane and death-defying descents at Colombiere due to slick roads and adverse conditions. Alaphilippe sits in 24th place and fell behind Pogacar by 18:51.
Check out more coverage of the 2021 Tour de France.