Tour de France stage 8: Mads Pedersen pips Jasper Philipsen

Former world champion takes his first stage of the race as Mark Cavendish crashes out

Clock17:41, Saturday 8th July 2023
Mads Pedersen roars in delight after his powerful sprint takes the men’s Lidl-Trek team to its first victory

Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images

Mads Pedersen roars in delight after his powerful sprint takes the men’s Lidl-Trek team to its first victory

After a stage tarnished by the abandon of Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan), Mads Pedersen ensured his Lidl-Trek team’s efforts were rewarded with a devastating uphill sprint in Limoges to give Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) his first taste of defeat at this year’s race.

Philipsen had done well to remain in the mix on a stage that suited the versatile sprinters who could cope with the undulating terrain in the latter part of the day. As such, we saw the likes of Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) come to the fore in place of the purer sprinters Caleb Ewan (Lotto Dstny) and Phil Bauhaus (Bahrain Victorious).

After an intense battle for the breakaway promised so much, the eventual makeup flattered to deceive with only Tim Declercq (Soudal-Quick Step), Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa Samsic) and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies) forming the front group. The peloton knew it had matters well in hand and a sense of calm was instilled in the bunch.

Such a sense of ease may not have helped Cavendish, who crashed at the back of the peloton in the middle of the stage and was forced to abandon his final Tour de France with a fractured collarbone.

In the sprint in Limoges, Lidl-Trek dominated proceedings and set Mads Pedersen up for a rip-roaring show of power that saw green jersey Philipsen resigned to second, with Van Aert rounding out the podium.

“We didn’t know this morning if it would be a breakaway or a sprint, but it really looked like the sprinters’ teams didn’t want it to be a breakaway day, so we stayed calm and man, the boys did a perfect lead-out today,” Pedersen said at the finish. “Even with the long sprint, I still had the legs to finish it off so that’s really nice to win a stage sooner than stage 13 [this time].”

Racing recap

The battle for the breakaway began immediately from kilometre 0 in Libourne, as the peloton’s lesser-fancied riders sensed their chance to spring a surprise on a stage that neither suited the pure sprinters, nor the GC favourites. Opportunity was afoot and Rémi Cavagna (Soudal-Quick Step) was the first to knock on the door, followed by a flurry of attacks over the first 10km by TotalEnergies.

Attacks went in and out like the tide over the first 20km, as Torstein Træen of Uno-X suffered a nasty crash and the usual breakaway suspects like Julian Alaphilippe (Soudal-Quick Step) failed to make their efforts count. In the end, it was Alaphilippe’s teammate Tim Declercq who formed the definitive break after 25km, alongside Anthony Delaplace (Arkéa Samsic) and Anthony Turgis (TotalEnergies).

With the gap to the peloton allowed to grow to over five minutes by the likes of Alpecin-Deceuninck and Intermarché-Circus-Wanty, who were marshalling proceedings on the front, Delaplace led Turgis and Declerq over the line at the intermediate sprint with 119km to go. Given the distance from the finish, those on the march to snatch the green jersey from Jasper Philipsen (Alpecin-Deceuninck) engaged in a competitive sprint behind.

Despite their best efforts, Philipsen led home Jordi Meeus (Bora-Hansgrohe), Danny van Poppel (Bora-Hansgrohe) and Mark Cavendish (Astana Qazaqstan) to extend his lead in green. A few of the sprinters engaged in a short-lived breakaway that would soon be quashed by the might of the Jumbo-Visma-led peloton.

Disaster struck for Cavendish with 62km to ride as an innocuous crash towards the back of the peloton saw the 34-time stage winner hit the tarmac and suffer what would later be confirmed as a fractured right collarbone. The crash drew emotional scenes as Cavendish departed his final Tour de France in the back of an ambulance.

There was no time for tears in the peloton as Jumbo-Visma drove a ferocious chase of the breakaway that saw Declerq and Delaplace caught with little over 10km to ride. A valiant solo effort from Turgis was put to rest 7km from the line and amongst the mayhem and speed as the reduced peloton made its way to Limoges, Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), Steff Cras (TotalEnergies) and Simon Yates (Jayco AlUla) were involved in a crash that saw the British rider drop from fourth to sixth on GC and the Belgian abandon the race.

In the uphill run to the line, it was Lidl-Trek who dominated the lead-out battle with Mattias Skjelmose, Giulio Ciccone and Jasper Stuyven, teeing up a trademark extended sprint by Mads Pedersen that brought the Dane his first stage win of the race.

It marks the fourth Grand Tour in succession that Pedersen has ridden and won a stage of, whilst Philipsen and Wout van Aert rounded out the podium behind. Dylan Groenewegen (Jayco AlUla) was perhaps the surprise package of the day in fourth, and Jumbo-Visma were left to rue a missed opportunity that saw Christophe Laporte accidentally stunt the acceleration of Van Aert.

We’ll be showing live and on-demand coverage of all 21 stages of this year’s Tour de France from Saturday, July 1 to Sunday, July 23. Head over to GCN+ now to check the start times of each broadcast so that you don’t miss out on a moment of the action! As always, territory restrictions will apply.

Race Results

1

dk flag

PEDERSEN Mads

Lidl-Trek

4H 12' 26"

2

be flag

PHILIPSEN Jasper

Alpecin-Deceuninck

"

3

be flag

VAN AERT Wout

Jumbo-Visma

"

4

nl flag

GROENEWEGEN Dylan

Team Jayco-AlUla

"

5

nl flag

EEKHOFF Nils

Team dsm-firmenich

"

6

fr flag

COQUARD Bryan

Cofidis

"

7

be flag

DE BUYST Jasper

Lotto Dstny

"

8

no flag

TILLER Rasmus

Uno-X Pro Cycling Team

"

9

nz flag

STRONG Corbin

Israel-Premier Tech

"

10

si flag

POGACAR Tadej

UAE Team Emirates

"

Provided by FirstCycling

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