Nans Peters (ALM) led for the majority of Tour de France Stage 8 during a short, yet difficult mountain stage from Cazeres-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle that included a pair of Category 1 climbs and an HC ascent to the summit of Port de Bales in the Pyrenees mountains.
“It’s fitting that a Frenchman wins the first stage in the Pyrenees,” said legendary cycling broadcaster Phil Liggett.
Peters didn’t run out of gas after Port de Bales, and held off a challenge by Ilnur Zakarin (CCC).
“It was a dream and I made it!” said Peters at the finish line. “I knew Zakarin was stronger than me up the climbs, but I never gave up. Convinced myself to not crack. I had seen in the downhill of Port de Bales that he descended like a goat, so I was confident to beat him in the finale of the stage. I had no earpiece, so the only info I had was looking back. Only two kilometers to go I thought that I was going to win.”
|TOUR de FRANCE STAGE 8 RESULTS|
- Nans Peters (ALM) 4:02:12
- Toms Skujins (Trek-Segafredo) +0:00:47
- Carlos Verona (Movistar) +0:00:47
American Neilson Powless (EF Pro Cycling) finished in fifth place and trailed Peters by 101 seconds.
Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) finished in 12th place in Stage 8. He retained the yellow jersey and held onto first place in the general classification.
“I actually rode my own pace for a little bit, sort of collect myself,” said Yates. “Over the top I stayed with the guys, so in all a good day.”
Stage 8: Cazeres-sur-Garonne > Loudenvielle
Stage 8 featured the shortest stage this year’s Tour de France. The drama quickly unfolded with a breakaway of 13 riders led by Peters and Ilnur Zakarian (CCC).
Zakarian and Peters were the first riders at the summit of Bales. Two chase packs emerged with Neilson Powless, Toms Skujins, Carlos Verona, and Doren Kragh Andresen in the first pack. On the treacherous descent with anxiety-inducing hairpin turns, Peters dropped Zakarian on the downhill from Bales.
Peters led the ascent up the Category 1 climb of Col de Peyresoude. Zakarian caught up and was back in hot pursuit.
“This is crazy, man,” Peters said. “Zakarin was better than me on the climb but I did everything I could. I kept telling myself, telling myself I’m the best, I’m the strongest. I really did everything I could.”
Peters pulled away from Zakarian on the descent and rode to a solo finish at Loudenvielle. Skujins finished second and Verona took third. Zakarian finished in fourth place.
According to @LeTourData on Twitter, Peters climbed at speeds as high as 21.4 km. On downhills, he reached 88 km at one point speeding down Bales. He averaged 57.4 km on downhills in Stage 8.
Stage 9: Pau > La Runs
Tour de France Stage 9 is no ordinary Sunday ride in the Pyrenees with a 153 km journey from Pau to La Runs.
Just before halfway to La Runs, the riders face an 11km Category 1 climb up Col de la Hourcere. Cole de Saoudet is a modest Category 3 climb and marks the midpoint of Stage 9, but the group will ride above 1,500 meters to the summit.
The final challenge features a steep ascent as Col de Marie Blanque includes an 8.6% gradient climb before a flat run into La Runs.
Oddsmakers pegged Julian Alaphilippe (DQS) as the 4/1 odds favorite to finish first at Le Runs. Tadej Pogacar is 10/1 odds, while Primoz Roglic is 12/1 to win in the Pyrenees.
|GC STANDINGS THRU STAGE 8|
- Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott) 34:44:52
- Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) +00:03
- Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +00:09
- Romain Bardet (ALM) +00:11
- Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers) +00:13
Yates is 20/1 odds to hold onto the yellow jersey all the way to Paris. With two more weeks remaining in the Tour de France, there’s still a lot of high-altitude cycling remaining on the grueling schedule.
“Tomorrow is a very similar stage,” said Yates. “If we can hold on for another day, the day after that is a rest day, so hopefully we can hold on to the (yellow) jersey until then.”
Romain Bardet (ALM) moved into fourth place ahead of last year’s champ Egan Bernal (Ineos). Bernal didn’t lose any time on Yates, and he’s still only 13 seconds off the leader.
Fan-favorite Alaphilippe won Stage 2, but he fell to 26th place and 11:42 behind Yates.
Roglic, the Stage 4 winner, sits in second place behind Yates by three seconds. He’s still the consensus favorite to win the Tour de France. DraftKings listed Roglic at -167 odds. Pogacar improved to +375 odds to win Le Tour as the second-highest rider on the futures board. Bernal slipped to third at 9/2 odds to win Le Tour.