Frenchman Calmejane wins Tour de France stage eight

The peleton rides during the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 216 kilometers from Vesoul to Troyes France Thursday July 6

"It was everything I was dreaming of", added the 24-year-old Calmejane, who also won a stage in the 2016 Vuelta a Espana.

In yesterday's seventh stage, Kittel claimed his third stage win and his 12th in total.

Richie Porte in fifth place overall and other riders eyeing victory in Paris on July 23 were simply pleased to get the long, hot stage over without incident.

Cavendish suffered a broken shoulder blade when he was forced into the barriers by Sagan 120 metres from the finish of Tuesday's 207.5km stage from Monsdorf-les-Bains to Vittel.

Close gaps in the general classification meant a number of teams made a decision to try and take advantage of the lumpy profile on the 188km stage from Dole to Station de Rousses.

Britain's Chris Froome (Team Sky) finished safely in the peloton to retain his yellow jersey - despite one heart-in-mouth moment when he and Welsh team-mate Geraint Thomas both left the road after overcooking a bend on a technical descent. "At 150 metres I was with Boasson Hagen and we came around the corner and I thought it was still 200 metres to go".

Italian Fabio Aru sat on third after trailing Froome by 14 seconds, and possessed the polkadot king of the mountains jersey. You get the big points for that and then you have to see.

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"The situation is different to the last years for sure", he said, referring to Sagan winning the green jersey in each of the last five years.

"They took me all the way to the line with a ideal lead out", Boasson Hagen said.

But more importantly, the 2015 Vuelta victor made a statement that he is a genuine challenger to end Froome's Tour reign.

The GC (general classification) contenders will return to proper action on Sunday for a stage featuring three out-of-category climbs and a risky descent into Chambery.

Nairo Quintana was the biggest loser of the day, coming in 14sec behind Froome, leaving him ninth overall at 54sec.

But on Sunday's stage, with a trio of Hors Categorie climbs in the Jura - ascents so hard they forcibly remain outside the organisers' ranking of climbing difficulty - there will be no room for those sorts of doubts. Arguably the toughest of this Tour, it has seven notable climbs.

Roche's first cousin Martin is fourth 25 seconds down.

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