GC duo battle to stay in contention

05 Sep 2020

GC duo battle to stay in contention

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Tour de France stage eight: Cazères - Loudenvielle, 141km

Egan Bernal and Richard Carapaz put in gritty performances on stage eight of the Tour de France to stay in contention on a dramatic day for the General Classification contenders. 

Nans Peters (AG2R La Mondiale) won the stage from the early breakaway, but the battle for the yellow jersey saw a number of contenders lose time on the first day of racing in the Pyrenees.

Bernal retains the white jersey and remains 13 seconds behind race leader Adam Yates (Mitchelton Scott), but drops to fifth overall while Carapaz moves up to 17th following a gutsy display that saw him finish in the first chase group behind his Colombian teammate.

Following a slower start than stage seven's electric pace, a group of 13 established a lead of over 13 minutes as the peloton deemed that the escapees were not an overall threat. It wasn't until the bunch hit the first 'Hors Catégorie', or 'beyond category' climb of the race, the fearsome Port de Balès, that the pace increased and the numbers in the peloton rapidly decreased.

A valiant effort from Pavel Sivakov ,as he continued his recovery from injuries suffered on stage one, saw him help until this point, with Michal Kwiatkowski and Dylan van Baarle on hand to support Bernal and Carapaz. 

Jumbo Visma continued to push the pace on this ascent to leave only a handful of overall contenders alongside Carapaz and Bernal, before the group thinned once again on the final climb of the day - the Col de Peyresourde.

Here, Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), Nairo Quintana (Arkea Samsic) and Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) attacked the group and managed to gain a small advantage. Having been dropped at the start of the climb, a determined Carapaz returned to pace Bernal and the rest of the group back into contention. 

Pogacar then attacked again and managed to stay away, clawing back time he lost in stage seven's crosswinds carnage, finishing ahead of a small group of GC contenders, which included Bernal and the maillot jaune of Yates. 
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Reaction

Egan Bernal 

"It was a good day, we did the last two climbs really, really, really fast,  I think if you look at the numbers it will be pretty impressive. 

“Looking at my performance, I am happy with what I did - this is the biggest race in the world so it is not easy to win, it is not easy to drop people so I’m happy to arrive [with the other GC contenders] in the first group and not lose time to Roglic and the others. 

"It was hard when the attacks came on the first part of the last climb. Dumoulin was doing a really hard pace so I had the feeling I couldn’t do this pace until the final and I was looking at the numbers and I knew it was impossible to do those numbers until the final. 

“I tried to manage my effort and every attack they did, sometimes I couldn’t follow them straight away and I thought it wouldn’t be possible until the last part of the climb, so I tried to do what’s best for me and I think I did a good job.

“I should be happy, this is the biggest race in the world and we need to have respect for the other riders who are really strong. It would have been a really nice race to watch on TV!"
Overall standings

1. Adam Yates (Mitchelton Scott) 34:44:52
2. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) +3”
3. Guillaume Martin (Cofidis) +9”
4. Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +11"
5. Egan Bernal (INEOS Grenadiers) +13”
17. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) +2'40"