Wout van Aert wins Stage 8 of Tour de France as Tadej Pogacar keeps hold of yellow jersey

Belgian sprints to victory while UAE Team Emirates rider extends overall lead

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Belgian rider Wout van Aert sprinted to victory in Stage 8 of the Tour de France at Lausanne on Saturday with defending champion Tadej Pogacar keeping hold of the leader's yellow jersey.

Van Aert, of the Jumbo-Visma team, won on a late incline ahead of Australia's pre-stage favourite Michael Matthews with Slovenian Pogacar finishing in third position.

This was a second stage win for van Aert, who also came second three times during the opening stages in Denmark, and extends his lead in the sprint points standings.

Pogacar also took a four-second bonus for his third place and extends his overall lead on Jonas Vingegaard at the top of the rankings.

“Before the Tour we had marked the Longwy and Lausanne stages for me,” said Van Aert.

“I'm very happy, very proud to finish off the work of the team. The climb was not too long. On the steepest parts I was on the limit but I knew the last 200-300 metres were flatter.”

The peloton left Dole in the Jura region under a cloud Saturday morning after Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard from the AG2R team and Norwegian Vegard Stake Laengen from Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates tested positive for Covid and were withdrawn.

“It's a big scare, two riders infected, but this pandemic is here and we cannot risk riding ill,” admitted Pogacar.

“We test every two or three days. Yesterday we were all negative but Vegard had a sore throat overnight and he was positive this morning.”

Cowbell ringing roadside fans cheered the pack along the way to the Swiss border where they caught a glimpse of what is to come with the Alpine mountains rearing into view on the horizon.

An early fall caught Pogacar and third placed Geraint Thomas, while French climber Thibaut Pinot not only fell twice but also took a smack on the nose when a roadside food bag distributor got things badly wrong.

Denmark's Magnus Cort Nielsen of the EF team will ride Stage 9 in the polka dot jersey again while Tom Pidcock of Ineos will wear the white under-26's jersey, albeit as second placed man behind Pogacar.

Sunday Stage 9 runs from Aigle to Chatel le Portes du Soleil, an Alpine resort on the French-Swiss border, with over 40km of climbing on the 192km itinerary.

It reaches a high point of 1,778m at the Col de la Croix summit while a 15km six per cent gradient challenge up the Pas de Morgins awaits any tired legs before the Tour re-enters France for the final 10km.

Updated: July 09, 2022, 5:46 PM