- The yellow jersey changed hands again on Saturday as Julian Alaphilippe retook the Tour de France lead on Stage 8.
- Belgian Thomas De Gendt led the race in a solo break for most of the day and took the stage victory.
- Thubaut Pinot jumped to third place in the overall rankings after Geraint Thomas lost some time in a crash.
After leading the race in a solo break for most of the day, Thomas De Gendt cruised to victory on Stage 8 of the 2019 Tour de France on Saturday.
The Belgian breakaway specialist, who at some points extended his lead by more than 40 seconds, eventually won the 200K stage by six seconds over Frenchmen Thibaut Pinot and Julian Alaphilippe. The latter retook the overall lead after a hard pursuit, giving his home country something extra to celebrate ahead of Bastille Day on Sunday.
“I had a really good feeling all day, so I believed in the victory,” De Gendt told reporters after the stage.
Alaphilippe and Pinot broke from the pack to form a two-man chase group, gaining time on De Gendt over the final climb and descent to the finish in Saint-Étienne. The ride pushed Alaphilippe, who had been trailing Tour rookie Giulio Ciccone for two days on the General Classification, back to the top of the overall rankings.
Once again in the yellow jersey, Alaphilippe now leads Ciccone by 23 seconds on the GC. Pinot, meanwhile, jumped to third place overall at 53 seconds behind. (The 24-year-old Ciccone continues to lead in the Best Young Rider competition.)
Geraint Thomas, the returning champion, lost time to Pinot in a crash with teammates on a turn with about 15K to go. Thomas quickly remounted, finishing with the peloton and retaining fifth place overall, but his Ineos teammate Gianni Moscon’s bike broke in half in the collision.
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