Oh, Switzerland — the wonderful vineyards, the Tuscan roads, and. . . oh, wait. I’ve mistaken Switzerland for Italy again, haven’t I? Well, it doesn’t really matter where the race is, right? I mean, most riders can’t tell you where they are the morning of the race. What is important to know is that Mr. Magnificent, Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma), won stage 8 of the Tour de France decked out in green. Michael Matthews of BikeExchange-Jayco took second place (again) and man-crush Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) delighted us once more with his antics, placing third.
The general classification remained largely unchanged with Pog snatching an additional four bonus seconds at the line. His competitors really ought to do something about him.
Truth be told, when I looked at the stage profile yesterday evening I was a bit disappointed. “Ugh, it’s a boring breakaway day. Maybe a sprint for Wout, but probably a breakaway day.” I was wrong. Apparently, van Aert, Matthews, and Pogacar wanted a piece of the final climb.
With Wout van Aert and Roglic, Jumbo should beat Pogacar on today's final climb if they play it right. I'll stick with Pidcock, we need a new winner. #TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/ro8QFgxdPE
— Mihai Simion (@faustocoppi60) July 9, 2022
And it was a nasty little corker! Just under five kilometers long, the first stretch averaged more than 6.5% before later seeing pitches of 12% gradient. Ouch.
Watching the final kilometre was a bit anticlimactic, really. It was like waiting for excitement to build, seemingly taking forever for it to do so, before it reached an outcome that we all would have expected.
Anticlimactic actually. #TDF2022
— daniel mcmahon (@cyclingreporter) July 9, 2022
Most Combative — I’d Like A Word
Look, the most combative prize has always been a bit crooked. French riders mysteriously win it despite having French-like performances. On a stage-by-stage basis, though, it is (generally) pretty fair. The rider who does the most work or is the last man out front gets the red dossard. So, what on earth happened today? No one seems sure.
Cattaneo the most combative https://t.co/AIN9Hk0jfF #TDF2022
— Radio Tour EN 🇬🇧 (@radiotour_en) July 9, 2022
"I'm a bit disappointed with that to be honest".
Fred Wright spoke to Daniel about his day in the breakaway and missing out on the combativity prize, which was won by Mattia Cattaneo.#TDF2022 #ITVCycling pic.twitter.com/KnOhjm0Wj5
— ITV Cycling (@itvcycling) July 9, 2022
Oh, Thibaut. . .
I enjoy giving Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot a jostling every once in a while, but we really do have to feel for the goat-loving Frenchie. He just can’t catch a break it seems. Case in point, today he crashed twice and then was smacked in the face by a musette. All within minutes of each other.
La poisse pour @ThibautPinot qui repart après une chute et prend la musette d’un assistant de Treck en plein visage 😰 Allez Thibaut ! Courage ! @Eurosport_FR pic.twitter.com/8cNuqOUl6u
— RoisDeLaPedale (@RoisDeLaPedale) July 9, 2022
🇫🇷 @ThibautPinot suffers two falls, after crashing in the climb and then taking a musette in the face on the way back!
🇫🇷@ThibautPinot est victime d'une légère chute ! Il repart, mais il prend une musette en plein visage et se retrouve de nouveau distancé !#TDF2022 pic.twitter.com/BM33WSqgVX
— Tour de France™ (@LeTour) July 9, 2022
Luckily, EF Pinkies’ communications director was there to offer a hug to Thibaut, which he often needs.
Happy I could be there for you @ThibautPinot pic.twitter.com/W3ONHWU7AL
— Matthew Beaudin (@matthewcbeaudin) July 9, 2022
It begs the question: Why aren’t there more roadside huggers employed by WorldTour teams?
I think we would all would like to see @matthewcbeaudin and others at additional places on the #TDF2022 course offering hugs for injured and sad riders. Get dropped? Hug. Fall off your bike? Hug. Get punched in the face? Extra hugs! Even hugs when looking at the course profile.
— Alison Tetrick (@AMTetrick) July 9, 2022
At the end of the day, Pinot finished the stage (and he’s looking forwards to the Alps – Ed). On you go, Thibaut!
The Last Word
Highlight of #TDF2022 stage 6 – @hugohofstetter hanging out with the official Arkéa-Samsic dog pic.twitter.com/HbpEeexyTC
— Daniel Ostanek (@LVCKV) July 7, 2022
Top 5 Stage 8
1 Wout Van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 4:13:06
2 Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) same time
3 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) s.t.
4 Andreas Kron (Lotto Soudal) s.t.
5 Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) s.t.
GC Top 10
1 Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 28:56:16
2 Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:39
3 Geraint Thomas (NEOS Grenadiers) +1:14
4 Adam Yates (INEOS Grenadiers) +1:22
5 David Gaudu (Groupama-FDJ) +1:35
6 Romain Bardet (Team DSM) +1:36
7 Tom Pidcock (INEOS Grenadiers) +1:39
8 Neilson Powless (EF Education-EasyPost) +1:41
9 Enric Mas (Movistar) +1:47
10 Daniel Martinez (INEOS Grenadiers) +1.59
All the Jerseys
Leader’s jersey Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)
Points jersey : Wout van Aert (Jumbo Visma)
King of the Mountains: Magnus Cort (EF Education-Easy Post)
Best young rider: Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates)
For full stage reviews, go to cyclingnews
Official Tour de France website is here