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Gallery: Teuns wins Stage 8 in the Alps as Pogacar lays down the law

Martin James
4 Jul 2021

GC rivals left floundering in the rain as defending champ takes yellow with a dominant climbing display

Thanks, Tadej. No sooner do we question whether this has been the greatest Tour de France opening week ever, than the irrepressible Pogacar threatens to close out the entire race two weeks early.

Such was the Slovenian’s dominance on a wet and blustery first day in the mountains. He didn’t win Stage 8 – that honour fell to Dylan Teuns in a second straight success for Bahrain Victorious – but he put so much time into his supposed GC rivals that it’s hard to see anyone else standing on the top stop of the podium in Paris, despite a full fortnight of racing still to come.

The damage was done near the top of the 1st category Col de Romme 30km from the finish, then reinforced and magnified on the Col de la Colombiere before the downhill run into Le Grand-Bornand.

Pogacar finished the 151km stage fourth, 49 seconds down on Teuns and just behind fellow breakaway survivors Ion Izagirre (Astana) and Michael Woods (Israel Start-Up Nation).

But it was the time gaps behind Pogacar that mattered. Simon Yates lost 2 minutes. Jonas Vingegaard, Richard Carapaz, Alexey Lutsenko, Rigoberto Uran and Enric Mas were together in what was left of a chase group, all of 3:20 behind Pogacar.

It only got worse from there. Nairo Quintana lost nearly 8 minutes; Julian Alaphilippe and Richie Porte lost 18 minutes; Vincenzo Nibali and yellow jersey Mathieu van der Poel 21 minutes.

Geraint Thomas and Primoz Roglic? 35 minutes. Clearly both have seen their Tour prospects ruined by the effects of crashes earlier in the race. Roglic decided not to start Stage 9, another tough mountain stage with a summit finish.

But this was Pogacar’s day. He may be seen as the future of the sport, but so far his 2021 Tour de France has been a near-perfect display of dominance we’ve only seen from Tour legends in their very pomp: dominate the opening time-trial, then make a statement in the first mountain stage.

Here are Cyclist photographer Chris Auld’s photos from Stage 8:

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