Soudal Quick-Step on the attack before Sunday’s summit finish in the Massif Central.
Tim Declercq found himself in an unusual role during the eighth stage of the Tour de France: from being the man who usually chases behind the breakaway, controlling their gap and making sure they would be brought back just in time for the bunch sprints, this time he was the one who decided to go up the road and animate the stage to Limoges from a three-man group.
Despite the numbers not being on their side, the trio enjoyed at one point a five-minute advantage, but the many teams wanting to see everything conclude in a mass gallop began pushing an insane tempo in the second part of the stage, eating into this advantage at a rapid pace. Just like he does when he spends countless hours at the front of the peloton, Tim put in a massive amount of work also here, but these efforts weren’t rewarded at the end of the day, as the escapees were caught on the rolling roads with just a couple of kilometers to go.
On the uphill drag to the line, Julian Alaphilippe was there for Soudal Quick-Step ideally positioned and ready to pounce in the last 200 meters, but he was boxed in twice in the space of mere meters and couldn’t be a protagonist in the finale, which saw Mads Pedersen (Lidl-Trek) prevail after a hectic sprint.
Photo credit: ©Tim De Waele / Getty Images