Geraint Thomas suffersdramatic crash

Tanya Simon
July 14, 2019

On the final climb of the day, Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe attacked, finishing just behind De Gendt.

Pinot leaps from seventh to third on the general classification, leapfrogging both Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas of Team Ineos, after gaining 19 seconds through time bonifications for his second place finish and the day's last KOM, plus the eventual countback.

Alaphilippe and Pinot dropped the peloton with a forceful climb but could not reel in the Belgian, although it was enough to give France two men in the top three of the GC for the first time since Thomas Voeckler and Sandy Casar from stage 5 to 12 in 2004.

Defending champion Geraint Thomas of Great Britain recovered from a crash with 17km remaining to finish among the 32 riders that were 26 seconds adrift, including his main rivals.

Carrying the hopes of a country that has not seen a homegrown Tour victor in 34 years, the French pair emerged as the big winners on the latest stage, which saw Geraint Thomas crash and lose ground in the defence of his title.

The Ineos rider took a tumble on a right-hand bend some 15 kilometres from the finish of the 200-km eighth stage from Macon but remounted and made it back into the bunch before the top of the Col de la Jaillere, the last climb of the day with 12.5 kilometres left. But Pinot is in the form of his life.

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Aussie Richie Porte, who finished safely alongside the main contenders, said it was harder than the daunting Stage 6 summit finish on La Planche des Belles Filles.

As their country prepares to celebrate Bastille Day, Julian Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot were in the mood for fireworks a day in advance at the Tour de France. Instead, the Frenchman now builds on a 23-second advantage atop the overall standings, and embraces for the Bastille Day with yellow jersey back.

Thomas De Gendt won the 200-kilometer (124-mile) trek after a long breakaway effort at the front. "G's bike was fine and I just put the chain back on and let him ride", Kwiatkowski explained. "It's annoying and frustrating but to come back like I did is good". Moscon's bike was busted into two piece by the impact.

"The good thing is I had good legs to be able to (catch up)", he said. "If I hadn't crashed I could have followed [Pinot and Alaplilippe] and it's a totally different story then", Thomas told ITV afterwards.

The stage took a toll on many riders, including former Tour champion Vincenzo Nibali, who conceded four minutes and 25 seconds.

The national holiday test was a 170km ride from former mining town Saint-Etienne to Brioude - French climber Romain Bardet's hometown.

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