Five riders in the lead
After a few skirmishes, a breakaway was formed at km 42 with the reunion of Niki Terpstra (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Blel Kadri (AG2R-La Mondiale), Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling), Adrien Petit (Cofidis) and Simon Yates (Orica-GreenEdge). Chavanel had gone clear at km 23, firstly rejoined by his former Quick Step team-mate Terpstra at km 26, and later by the other three as Yates, the youngest rider in the Tour de France now, initiated the reaction.
Quickly, it became clear that Peter Sagan wasn’t going to ask his team-mates to ride behind the escapees as he did on stage 7, even though the finale at La Mauselaine was worth a try from him. The Astana team of race leader Vincenzo Nibali also chose to set the pace of the peloton on a slow motion while the five escapees covered 51.2 kilometres in the first hour of racing!
Kadri for a one-man show
With 50km to go, Terpstra, Kadri, Chavanel, Petit and Yates reached their maximum advantage of 11 minutes over the peloton. Just a few kilometers further, the sudden pouring rain encouraged the riders to speed up in the bunch. Chavanel and Kadri rode away as they climbed to col de la Croix des Moinats with 25km to go. Kadri continued solo 22.5km before the finish at the ski resort of La Mauselaine. Tinkoff-Saxo set the pace of the peloton in the climbs, mostly for keeping Alberto Contador safe in a rain soaked finale with fog in the downhill of the col de Grosse-Pierre. Some important GC riders went into trouble: Michal Kwiatkowski (OPQS), Pierre Rolland (Europcar), Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), Laurens ten Dam (Belkin), Frank Schleck (Trek).
Contador prevails in the final climb
Kadri first secured the lead in the King of the Mountains competition. He was logically awarded the price of the most aggressive rider of the day. Moreover, he kept the momentum and increased his lead over Chavanel and claimed a brilliant solo victory atop La Mauselaine in rainy conditions that prevented spectators from viewing the lake of GÈrardmer. Nevertheless, the fight for GC went on.Contador finished the job of his team-mates and won his duel against Nibali, repositioned himself in seventh place on GC and gave an indication that he’ll be highly competitive in the mountains albeit posting a benefit of only three seconds over his rival. Nibali is the 17th Italian to wear the yellow jersey. For the 200th time, an Italian leads the Tour de France and there’s more action to come from the duelists.
1. Blel Kadri (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 3:49:28
2. Alberto Contador Velasco (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo 2:17
3. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 2:20
4. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 2:24
5. Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 2:28
6. Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
7. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Esp) Movistar Team 2:36
8. Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 2:40
9. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 2:48
10. Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) IAM Cycling 2:54
GC after Stage 8
1. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 33:48:52
2. Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 1:44
3. Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 1:58
4. Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team 2:26
5. Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Esp) Movistar Team 2:27
6. Alberto Contador Velasco (Esp) Tinkoff-Saxo 2:34
7. Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 2:39
8. Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Lampre-Merida 2:52
9. Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 3:02
10. Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol