Degenkolb wins chaotic Tour stage over the cobbles

Tough time Mark Cavendish has been out of the action

The Lotto-NL Jumbo rider burst clear of world champion Sagan and held off Lotto-Soudal's Greipel and Gaviria.

With almost six hours in the saddle and hardly any action until the finale, there was plenty of time to relax and fool around during the longest stage of the Tour de France on Friday.

"People had been saying I was not good enough to win a stage on this Tour, so I put my finger to my lips to tell them to shut up", said Groenewegen, explaining his gesture at the finish line.

Australian Porte, who was 10th in the race for the yellow jersey 57 seconds behind leader and BMC Racing teammate Greg Van Avermaet, was left in tears when he crashed out just 10km into the stage which saw Van Avermaet increase his lead in the yellow jersey. If I do have the chance to stay up there, to let me have that, you know?

"As far as being possible Tour winners, they're on the same level for me", said Bardet.

Slovakia's Peter Sagan was promoted to second, and German John Degenkolb to third. "I seemed to be in a good position", Cavendish said.

Lewis Hamilton accuses Ferrari of dirty tricks
The Englishman broke protocol by refusing to be interviewed after the race and headed straight for the podium green room. Mercedes' errors cost both Hamilton and Bottas in the Austrian GP the week before when neither finished.

Former teammate and 2012 victor Sir Bradley Wiggins says Team Sky would have a problem to deal with if the second-placed Thomas continued to be ahead of Froome.

Sunday's Stage 9 will take riders over 15 cobbled paths scattered along 21.7 kilometers of the 156.5-kilometer course from Arras to Roubaix, near the Belgian border.

"I have a big deficit already, and we haven't been on the first climb yet".

Monday's first rest day, after an 800-km transfer by plane to the Alps, will be much appreciated by the riders, who crossed the line in Roubaix, their faces covered by a mixture of dust and sweat after three and a half hours in scorching heat.

Another strong performance came from UAE Team Emirates rider Dan Martin, battered from his crash yesterday, but who even managed to pick up a late bonus second today.

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