(c) Nico Vereecken / PhotoNews

Sizzling Thomas De Gendt has "really good day" and wins 8th Tour stage in Saint-Etienne

In the Tour de France, Belgium's Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal) has posted an impressive solo win in Saint-Etienne. In a tense final to the fierce 200 km stage, he resisted a returning bunch to take the day's prize. It's a second Tour de France success for Belgium in three days, after Dylan Teuns' success on La Planche des Belles Filles. 

Thomas De Gendt is dubbed the king of the breakaways. Today, he joined a very early breakaway with three other riders. On a demanding, hilly course, De Gendt accelerated halfway, to remain in the front with only Italy's Alessandro De Marchi at his side. Despite the bunch never giving them too much freedom, the two kept a small bonus. On the last-but-one climb of the day, De Gendt went solo as he felt the fierce bunch coming nearer. 

In the final, France's Julian Alaphilippe and Tour outsider Thibaut Pinot made a breakaway from a chasing peloton, but still De Gendt resisted. The East-Fleming won the stage after being in the offensive the whole stage, putting his hands on his head when crossing the finishline as if he couldn't believe it himself.

For his Belgian Lotto-Soudal team, it's the first stage win this Tour de France, after Caleb Ewan had a second and third place in the sprint. Moreover, Tim Wellens keeps his polkadot jersey. "I had a really good day", De Gendt commented. "This win is more beautiful than my win at Chalet Reynard on the Mont Ventoux, after fighting a whole day and keeping a small margin in the end."

AFP or licensors
2019 Getty Images
2019 Getty Images
(c) Nico Vereecken / PhotoNews