Tour de France 2014's Stages 5, 6 and 7 had thrown up three new winners, and Stage 8 saw a continuation of this trend as Biel Kadri of the Ag2r La Mondiale team romped home to perhaps the biggest triumph of his cycling career on Saturday.
Bad weather impacted the race again in Stage 8 as Kadri was in his elements in a spectacular solo ending.
The Frenchman left Sylvain Chavanel (IAM Cycling) behind in the closing 161-kilometre climb from Tomblaine to Gérardmer. In what was a day to savour for Kadri, the polka-dot climber's jersey came his way along with the victory. Furthermore, for the first time in this edition of the Tour de France, there was a French winner.
"It's an amazing feeling that I have right now. I'm delighted for myself and for the team as well. The main aim for the team was to win a stage - we've done that now - and to get the polka-dot jersey too, that's important as well," Velonews quoted Kadri.
Kadri ended up winning easily but not before a stiff challenge from Simon Yates of the Orica-GreenEdge team. In this stage Kadri was amongst a breakaway that included five contestants. Yates managed to give the other riders in the breakaway the slip as he threatened to take a huge lead. Kadri had praise for the 21-year-old.
"He is a better climber than I so I had to manage my gap. I had to avoid having him coming back to me on the last climb. I think he will have a good career. He will be a very great and strong rider in the future," The Guardian quoted him.
This stage saw the competition amongst the General Classification riders become more intense. Vincenzo Nibali of the Astana, the holder of the yellow jersey, retained his position as the leader despite finishing behind Albert Contandor who, in an aggressive burst, clipped a few seconds off him.
"I marked the attack of Alberto. It was a good confirmation of my form. It certainly wasn't easy to stay on the wheel of Alberto. I know him well, he's very explosive on a final like this. I could follow his pace, so it was an important sign. The most important was to defend the jersey today," the Italian pointed out.
Finishing behind Contandor and losing seconds do not seem to have affected his confidence.
"It is true that Contador grabbed some seconds off me but I don't think it's that important because we have almost two weeks left," Nibali stressed.