Tour de France: Van Aert grasps opportunity to land dramatic stage eight victory in Lausanne

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Wout van Aert tightened his hold on the green jersey as he won stage eight of the Tour de France after a dramatic final sprint in Lausanne.

The Dutchman claimed his second stage victory of this year's tour, holding off Michael Matthews and overall race leader Tadej Pogacar to add to his triumph in Calais on Tuesday.

The Jumbo-Visma rider also extended his lead at the top of the points classification, moving 115 points clear of Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl's Fabio Jakobsen.

There was drama after just nine kilometres from the start in Dole, with Kevin Vermaerke forced to pull after falling in a crash that also affected Pogacar and 2018 yellow jersey winner Geraint Thomas.

Pogacar – winner of stages six and seven – recovered and eventually put himself in contention heading into the final sprint.

However, the two-time champion appeared to hesitate at the vital moment after Matthews launched the surge, but Van Aert timed his move to perfection to claim victory.

"Today was a big chance to take a lot of points," Van Aert said. "I'm really glad my team put everything in it to chase down the breakaway.

"It was a really tough climb. Everything going uphill was really steep, so I had to fight to stay in the wheel of Pogacar and his team-mates.

"I knew if I could stay at the wheel that the sprint was a little bit flatter, so I was waiting for that moment.

"Winning a stage in the Tour de France – no matter where it is – is nice."

Earlier in the day, Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates team-mate Vegard Stake Laengen and Geoffrey Bouchard (AG2R Citroen) became the first casualties of this year's race having tested positive for COVID-19.

Dutch delight for Van Aert

Van Aert moved level with Pogacar by claiming his eighth stage victory overall at the Tour de France.

And with the Dutch rider doubling his tally for the season, he has now won multiple stages in each of the last three years.

STAGE RESULTS

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 4:13:06
2. Michael Matthews (Team BikeExchange-Jayco) same time
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) same time
4. Andreas Kron (Lotto-Soudal) same time
5. Alberto Bettiol (EF Education-EasyPost) same time

CLASSIFICATION STANDINGS

General Classification

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 28:56:16
2. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) +0:39
3. Geraint Thomas (INEOS Grenadiers) +1:14

Points Classification

1. Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) 264
2. Fabio Jakobsen (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) 149
3. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 128

King of the Mountains

1. Magnus Cort Nielsen (EF Education-EasyPost) 11
2. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 10
3. Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) 8

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