Nans Peters earns first stage win on a mixed day for home nation in Tour de France
La Mondiale rider takes the honours in the Pyrenees, while Pinot and Alaphilippe are big losers on day
On a day of mixed feelings for the home nation, Nans Peters won the eighth stage of the Tour de France following a long breakaway in the Pyrenees, while fellow Frenchman Thibaut Pinot saw his hopes of winning the race vanish.
The AG2R La Mondiale rider led home the survivors of a 13-man group who went away early on the 141km stage from Cazeres-sur-Garonne as the race moved into the Pyrenees.
A French stage win was much needed for home fans on a day when their primary hopeful to end a 35-year-wait for overall victory, Pinot, cracked on the Port de Bales as injuries suffered in an opening day crash told.
The Groupama-FDJ rider has been receiving daily treatment since hitting the deck hard in Nice, but cracked early on the first hors categorie climb of the Tour as the main peloton took six minutes out of him before the summit.
The sight of a team-mate draping a consoling arm around Pinot's shoulder midway up the climb indicated his Tour hopes are over even before the first rest day.
Adam Yates was made to fight all the way to hold on to his yellow jersey as he faced a series of attacks on the Col de Peyresourde, the final climb of the day, but each time the Mitchelton-Scott man responded to retain his three-second advantage over Primoz Roglic.
Julian Alaphilippe went first but quickly blew and was spat out of the back, his overall challenge now over.
Yates was distanced three times as Roglic tried to get clear, but each time the Bury rider remained calm and paced his way back on to the wheels of his rivals.
A delighted Peters said after: "This is crazy, absolutely crazy. I had a dream to win a stage in the Tour de France and I've done it.
"To be honest Zakarin was better than me on the climb but I did everything I could. I kept telling myself, telling myself I'm the best, I'm the strongest. I really did everything I could.
"The crowd on the climb was big and kept me going. When I saw 2km from the finish I said this is it, I'm done – I'm going to win."
Tadej Pogacar, among the riders to lose 81 seconds in the crosswinds on Friday, did get away to recover some time and now sits ninth – 48 seconds down on Yates – but there was no change at the very top of the standings.
"I saw that the other guys were looking at each other and everyone was on the limit, I had the chance to attack and I went full gas for the last 5 km to the top," Pogacar said.
"In the downhill I tried to go as deep as I could and at the end I had 40 seconds of advantage, so it was a good day for me. Tomorrow will be another hard day, we will see day by day how we face each stage."
Updated: September 5, 2020 08:21 PM