Julian Alaphilippe takes first Tour de France mountain stage

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All that was left for Alaphilippe to do was descend the remaining 14 km to Le Grand Bornard, crossing the line one minute and 34 seconds ahead of Ion Izaguirre Insausti for his first Tour de France stage win.

"I didn't see what happened behind me and can't comment on the decision", said the Dutch rider who also won Friday's seventh stage to join Sagan and Gaviria with two wins each from the first eight days' racing.

"I didn't have the legs to be first or second, and third is better than fourth", Sagan said.

Belgian Greg van Avermaet retained the overall leader's yellow jersey."My shape is getting better by the day, I'm proud that I won again today", said Groenewegen, who won the final stage on the Champs Elysees previous year.

Van Avermaet got out in an early breakaway that managed to open up a seven-minute gap over the pack midway through the stage. That increased his lead over Froome's teammate Geraint Thomas to 7 seconds and his own BMC teammate Tejay Van Garderen to 9 seconds.

The Dutchman marked Bastille Day by storming to glory, his late burst taking him beyond Andre Greipel and Fernando Gaviria in the closing stages of the 181-kilometre trip from Dreux to Amiens.

The mostly flat 181-kilometer (112-mile) ride from Dreux to Amiens comes before the three-week race faces one of its most hard legs when it hits the tricky and occasionally treacherous cobblestones. "It's not going to be easy but we keep trying".

The good news for an ailing Martin - as well as the rest of the field - is they have just one more stage to complete before the event's first rest day.

"It was some steep climbs and we were really expecting it to pick up somewhere but it never really materialised", Thomas said.

Van Avermaet won the single-day cobblestone Paris-Roubaix race in 2017. "Obviously Geraint is in the flawless place now, we should see him going in to yellow over the next couple of days", Briton Froome told reporters on Monday. The result was another mostly calm ride. UAE Emirates leader Daniel Martin, the victor of Stage 6, bloodied his left elbow and tore the back of his shirt.

Froome is in sixth place and 3:21 behind Van Avermaet.

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