Matthews misses podium in Tour de France

Matthews misses podium in Tour de France

Thomas De Gendt soloed to victory on stage eight of the Tour de France in Saint Etienne as Julian Alaphilippe regained the yellow jersey and Geraint Thomas survived a dramatic crash which snapped team-mate Gianni Moscon's bike in half.

Since achieving a third-place finish in 2014, Pinot has always struggled at his home race, and skipped it previous year.

"I will wear the yellow jersey on Bastille Day, for a Frenchman there is nothing better", Alaphilippe said after finishing the stage in third place, just behind Pinot.

Lotto-Soudal's Thomas De Gendt was the last survivor of a four-man breakaway on the 230km stage from Macon, and had the power to hold off a late attack from Deceuninck-Quick Step's Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot of Groupama-FDJ.

Thomas De Gendt celebrates his incredible stage win.

Shortly after Thomas rejoined the peloton, Julian Alaphilippe attacked to take bonus seconds at the top.

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"It was a fantastic finale, it was lovely to go together like this and we showed that we can work together even if we're in different teams", said Alaphilippe, whose move was highly expected as bonus seconds were up for grabs in the ascent to the Cote de la Jaillere and at the finish.

"By the time I got up to the group I was gassed for a bit and obviously that's when they started to sprint away", said Thomas.

It's annoying, and frustrating, but at the same time, to come back like I did shows I had good legs.' Though Alaphilippe and Pinot could not catch De Gendt, crossing the line some six seconds later, third place on the day was enough for Alaphilippe to take yellow back from Trek-Segafredo's Giulio Ciccone. If I hadn't have crashed I could have followed, and it's a totally different story today.

French duo Thibaut Pinot, right, and Julian Alaphilippe cross the finish line after a fine day for the locals. "I realized how important this race is for a French rider", he said.

Determined to shine on a day suited for "bardoudeurs" - a French word used to describe breakaway riders capable of winning on their own - De Gendt spent the day at the front.

Pinot, who has a love-hate relationship with the Tour having won a stage as the youngest rider in the race in 2012 but also experienced his most humiliating disappointments here, is happy to be taking part this year. "Since I've done that I'm more relaxed". 'We nearly got it with Caleb (Ewan) yesterday.

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