Tour de France - John Degenkolb dedicates emotional victory to friend

Tour de France - John Degenkolb dedicates emotional victory to friend

Tour de France - John Degenkolb dedicates emotional victory to friend

Sky rider Geraint Thomas, who enters the stage just seven seconds behind overall leader Greg Van Avermaet, said in May the cobbles here: "Could have been chucked off the back of a truck", because of how rough and uneven they are.

Former Paris-Roubaix victor Van Avermaet could be a victim of the fact this stage could prove crucial to the general classification.

"I seemed to be in a good position", Cavendish said. - Peter the Great - There are two teams who have an obvious chance of winning the Arras-Roubaix stage who do not have a leader to protect, and they are Bora-Hansgrohe with Peter Sagan and Quick-Step with Niki Terpstra, Bob Jungels and Philippe Gilbert, none of whom would be a surprise victor.

Neither of their falls were as serious as that of Porte, whose race was ended by a stage nine crash for the second successive year.

The man who completed the podium past year, AG2R La-Mondiale's Romain Bardet, experienced a day in which a succession of mechanical problems - beginning on the very first section of cobbles - left him having to constantly battle back to rejoin the group.

Most of the other leading contenders, including Chris Froome, Romain Bardet, Vincenzo Nibali, Nairo Quintana and Richie Porte came home safely in the peloton. He won Paris-Roubaix in 2015, the famous one-day cobbled classic known as the "Hell of the North", and this stage followed a similar route.

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Both Team Sky riders finished in the front group, 27 second behind stage victor John Degenkolb (Trek-Segafredo) with most of their overall rivals.

"The breakaway was kind of a déjà vu at Paris-Roubaix three years ago. When you hear a doctor say that you know it's no good", he said.

Three of his UAE Emirates team mates dropped back to help him regain his place in the bunch but Martin, with the back of his jersey ripped off and his left elbow bleeding, had to concede time ahead of a crucial ninth stage featuring 21.7km of cobbled sectors. "I had been through a lot of things in the past and it was such a hard time". His average speed over the stage was 45.9 kph overall and 39.8 kph on the cobbles.

Lotto-NL Jumbo's Dylan Groenewegen comprehensively proved that the new has well and truly eclipsed the old as the precocious Dutch powerhouse cruised past the best sprinters in the world to take stage eight of the Tour de France in Amiens.

That challenge will be followed by a rest day on Monday before the race shifts to its first mountain stages in the Alps.

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