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Adam Yates fights hard to keep yellow jersey in the Pyrenees

Pinot suffers another terrible Grand Tour day

Photo by: Sirotti

Adam Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) fought hard to preserve his Tour de France yellow jersey on Saturday’s first stage in the Pyrenees, yo-yoing off the back of a small elite group. From the breakaway, Frenchman Nan Peters of AG2R won his first Tour stage solo. French favourite Thibaut Pinot’s yellow jersey ambitions were dashed on the Port de Balès as he suffered back problems from his Stage 1 crash.

The Course

Three big climbs were distributed somewhat evenly along the 141-km route:
Cat. 1 Col de Menté, 10.9 km at 6.4 percent, peaking 81.5-km from the finish in Loudenvielle.
The first HC climb of the race, Port de Balès, 11.6 km at 8 percent, 35-km from the finish.
Cat. 1 Col de Peyresourde, 9.7 km at 7.2 percent, 11 km from the finish. Bonus seconds were on offer atop the Peyresourde.

Mercifully, the day was dry.

Big Breakaway

By the foot of the Col de Menté, a 13-rider had rolled up a 12:00 gap over the Mitchelton-Scott-led peloton. Ilnur Zakarin (Russia/CCC) was the best classified rider on GC among the early attackers, trailing Yates by 16:39. Polka-dot jersey holder Benoît Cosnefroy (France/ AG2R La Mondiale) was also an escapee, and he bolted on his breakmates long enough to take more KOM points at Menté’s crest.

HC-rated Port de Balès

Fugitive Jérôme Cousin of Total Direct Energie skipped away from the others on the long drag leading to Balès, the first of five HC ascents in the 107th edition. Why not? He had already tried to solo to victory on Stage 3 and the peloton was still +12:00. The others caught him when Balès began in earnest, and Cosnefroy’s teammate Peters surged ahead with Zakarin and Quentin Pacher (France/B&B Hotels-Vital Concept).

Thibaut Pinot was dropped from the peloton Jumbo-Visma dragged uphill.

Jumbo led a 30-rider group over the peak. Peters dropped Zakarin on the descent. American Nielsen Powless made a cyclocross save on a switchback.


Peters had a 45-second gap over the Russian facing the Peyresourde. Back in the yellow jersey group, George Bennett and Tom Dumoulin pulled for Primož Roglič. An acceleration by Julian Alaphilippe dropped Bennett, Alejandro Valverde and, to everyone’s surprise, Alaphilippe himself.

Tadej Pogačar attacked with 6-km to climb and Roglič and Quintana were able to go with him. Egan Bernal and then Rigoberto Uran pulled Yates, Mikel Landa, Guillaume Martin, and Angel Lopez over.

When the front group grew again, Pogačar made another move, drawing a chase duo of Landa and Richie Porte, all three having lost time on Friday. Up front Peters stayed clear of Zakarin to take a famous victory in Loudenvielle. With a kilometre to climb, third place Guillaume Martin (France/Cofidis) bounced away from the others. Yates kept losing wheels and clawing his way back on the Peyresourde.

The fans at the top were masked but a bit crowded.

Martin was brought back but Quintana and Roglič attacked over the top, reaching Landa and Porte. Again the favourites came back together. A late thrust from Romain Bardet won him a couple of seconds and a jump up to fourth place. Pogačar’s efforts earned him a return to the top-10. Tom Dumoulin dropped 10 places, Alaphilippe tumbled down 15 and Pinot disappeared from the top-40.

Sunday’s ninth stage is the second big day in the Pyrenees and will lead to Monday’s first rest day. Again, there’s no summit finish, but the Col de Marie Blanque peaks 18-km from the finish in Laruns. Surely there won’t be seven riders 13-seconds within Yates on the rest day.

2020 Tour de France Stage 8
1) Nan Peters (France/AG2R-La Mondiale) 4:02:12
2) Toms Skujins (Latvia/Trek-Segafredo) +0:47
3) Carlos Verona (Spain/Movistar) s.t.

2020 Tour de France GC
1) Adam Yates (Great Britain/Mitchelton-Scott) 34:44:52
2) Primož Roglič (Slovenia/Jumbo-Visma) +0:03
3) Guillaume Martin (France/Cofidis) +0:09
4) Romain Bardet (France/AG2R-La Mondiale) +0:11
5) Egan Bernal (Colombia/Ineos Grenadiers) +0:13
6) Nairo Quintana (Colombia/Arkea-Samsic s.t.
7) Angel Lopez (Colombia/Astana) s.t.
8) Rigoberto Uran (Colombia/EF Pro Cycling) s.t.
9) Tadej Pogačar (Slovenia/UAE-Emirates) +0:48
10) Enric Mas (Spain/Movistar) +1:00