93.5km to go
Once again Wout Poels leads the race, the Dutchman is heading up the first categorised climb of the day, the côte de Mont Sassonex. Geraint Thomas is almost seven – seven! – minutes down on his old team-mate, while Primoz Roglic trails by 4min 27sec. I think it is safe to say that neither of these pre-race favourites will be challenging for the yellow jersey at this year’s race. Heartbreaking stuff for both, and not great for those heading to the Vuelta a España because, surely, Roglic will now switch his focus to the Spanish grand tour.
Whatever happened to the Orica-GreenEdge bus driver?
Looks like the man that almost brought the 2013 Tour to a standstill after getting the team bus wedged beneath the finishing line arch may have got a gig working in the Tour de France caravan. This lorry has brought the traffic to a halt on the côte de Mont Sassonex. Oops.
102.5km to go
A few minutes ago Sonny Colbrelli wins the intermediate sprint ahead of Michael Matthews (BikeExchange), the 20 points the Italian just earned propels him up to sixth in the race for the green jersey, though he trails Mark Cavendish by some distance. South London’s Fred Wright (Bahrain Victorious) takes third which will, I’m sure, delight my nephew Sam who races for Fred’s old club VC Londres.
Thomas waving goodbye to Tour hopes?
Geraint Thomas is 3min 40sec down on the leading group that has Tadej Pogacar, Mathieu van der Poel, Wout van Aert, Rigoberto Urán and Julian Alaphilippe. Primoz Roglic, meanwhile, is in the second group on the road 1min 25sec down on the maillot jaune. A frenetic start to the day’s stage.
117km to go
Sonny Colbrelli, the Italian national champion, has clipped off the front of the leading group – he will be thinking about the points on offer at the intermediate sprint in Frangy around 10km away.
Roglic dropped | 120km to go
Oh dear, oh dear. Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) has been dropped by the leading group on the road. The Slovenian crashed during stage one, then suffered horribly after colliding with Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain Victorious) a couple of days later resulting in him sustaining an awful lot of road rash.
122km to go
Mattia Cattaneo, Julien Bernard (Trek-Segafredo) and Connor Swift (Arkéa-Samsic) move off the front, before Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) bridges over to the trio. However, as soon as the Belgian national champion made his move the peloton reacted. Notably Rui Costa (UAE Team Emirates) helped chased Van Aert down, presumably on behalf of team-mate Tadej Pogacar. Incidentally, Costa is a rider that goes well in the wet conditions the riders are having to deal with today – it is absolutely teeming it down.
Chris Froome has managed to regain contact with the group with Geraint Thomas. The Welshman, by the way, has no team-mates for company which will be a worry for Ineos Grenadiers.
Thomas losing time
Geraint Thomas, one of those riders that crashed in the opening few stages, has lost contact with the leading group and the Welshman currently trails by 1min 30sec. Chris Froome, meanwhile, is battling away in an effort to chase onto the rear of Thomas’s group. This could be a very long and miserable day for the former team-mates.
135km to go
Woet Poels has been caught by the leading group and the corners are being taken very gingerly, there quite a bit of resting water on the road surface and so the already battered and bruised bodies of these riders will not be wanting to add to their pain in any more falls.
140km to go
Woet Poels is ploughing on, but his lead is negligible. Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers) was just spotted riding toward the rear of the group containing most of the general classification contenders which is not a good sign. As mentioned, the roads are wet and the descent the riders are currently on looks a little tricky.
146.5km to go
Tao Geoghegan Hart sits up, presumably having been instructed to knock it off a little. A small group including Stefan de Bod (Astana-Premier Tech), Mattia Cattaneo (Deceuninck-Quick Step), Kenny Elissonde (Trek-Segafredo), Sepp Kuss (Jumbo-Visma), Sergio Henao (Qhubeka-NextHash) and Michael Woods (ISN) has put some space between themselves and the rapidly dwindling bunch. Mark Cavendish is struggling on this climb which is not hugely surprising, but of more concern is the performance of Chris Froome who a few moments ago was in trouble at the rear of the peloton.
147km to go
Former team-mates Woet Poels (Bahrain Victorious) and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) scurry off up the road after Thomas De Gendt’s early move comes to nothing. Geoghegan Hart started today over 37 minutes down on general classification and so poses no threat here. Is he thinking of going for the stage, or maybe getting up the road so that he can help a team-mate – Richard Carapaz or Geraint Thomas – later in the day?
Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) clips off the front, the breakaway specialist looking lively, while his team-mate falls out of the back of the group. The German sprinter is not designed for these climbs and is planning to race on the track at the Olympics so he may even be thinking of bailing.
And they’re off!
Christian Prudhome, the race director of the Tour de France, has popped his head out of his shiny red Skoda and dropped his flag to signify the start of today’s race. It is uphill from the off on an uncategorised climb and it looks a little damp.
So, what’s on today’s menu?
There are five categorised climbs, including three category one mountains, as the Tour enters the Alps. As if they have not been tested enough already, today is a huge day in the race for the general classification and one in which we will see if anybody is willing to test the mettle of Tadej Pogacar. It is widely assumed that Mathieu van der Poel will be losing his yellow jersey, but who will be taking control of that?
Here’s a look at the all-important numbers from those climbs . . .
. . . and a breakdown of what points can be won in the mountains.
But what about those who only have eyes for the green jersey?
Hello and welcome to our live rolling blog from stage eight at the Tour, the 150.8-kilometre run from Oyonnax to Le Grand-Bornand.
A big day in the mountains lies in wait for, before we have a look at the stage though let’s remind ourselves wwho will be wearing what.
Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix) will again be dressed in the maillot jaune, the leader’s yellow jersey, the Dutchman taking a 30sec lead over Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) into the stage, while Kasper Asgreen (Deceuninck-Quick Step) is third at 1min 49sec.
Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck-Quick Step) will again be wearing the maillot vert, the green jersey, as leader in the points competition.
Matej Mohoric (Bahrain Victorious) will have the maillot à pois, the polka dot jersey, on his shoulders as leader in the mountains.
Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates), meanwhile, will be in the maillot blanc, the white jersey awarded to the best young rider.