112km to go: Lots of toing and froing, but no real going. Elsewhere, Lennard Kämna is reported to have accidentally ridden into a cornfield but is now back on his bike.
118km to go: They go through Oloron-Sainte-Marie. It was in the news last year after robbers ram-raided the fabulous cathedral and stole a number of silver chalices and other goodies.
123km to go: They go through Goès. Fabio Aru is about 1km behind the leaders, for reasons that are unclear.
130km to go: No big breakaway yet, but the peloton is strung out and it’s only a matter of time. There’s still about 20km before they hit the start of the first big climb of the day, the Col de la Hourcère.
133km to go: Nobody’s being allowed to go yet. Roche is caught, and Julian Alaphilippe launches himself clear now.
140km to go: Marc Hirschi goes off on his own on the descent, going fast enough to not only open up a seven-second lead by the time he hits the bottom but also to very nearly go straight into a caravan parked on the side of the road at a bend.
143km to go: First over the top in the end is Benoit Cosnefroy, who already has the polka dot jersey.
144km to go: Thomas de Gendt hits the front. Max Schachmann sits just behind. They’re heading up the Cote d’Artiguelouve, a category four climb.
146km to go: They pass through Artiguelouve, which apparently means “clearing of wolves” in Béarnese, a local dialect of Gascon. What, though, is clearing of wolves? Sounds a lot like wolf-hunting, doesn’t it? There are still wolves in the Pyrenees, so they obviously didn’t artiguelouve terribly efficiently.
148km to go: Time for a quick recap on yesterday’s action, when Britain’s very own Adam Yates held on to his maillot jaune while the stage was won by Nans Peters. You can read all about it here:
While William Fotheringham has also written about the current state of play:
There were two surprises after Wednesday’s finish when Adam Yates pulled on the yellow jersey of the Tour de France, which he wore into the first Pyrenean stage of the race on Saturday. The obvious shock was in the way that Yates was awarded the maillot jaune – the passive verb is important here – when Julian Alaphilippe and his Deceuninck–Quick-Step team made an unlikely unforced error that earned the French favourite a time penalty. More disconcerting perhaps was the fact it has taken the best part of seven professional seasons before either Adam or his twin brother, Simon, wore the most fabled jersey in cycling.
Much more here:
152km to go: And they’re off! Casper Pedersen of Sunweb launches himself off the front at the very start.
Before the rollout in Pau there was a tribute to Nico Portal, the Team Ineos sporting director and son of Pau, who died suddenly in March at the age of 40. Representatives of Team Ineos started at the front and led the tour through his hometown. The rollout is due to end, and proper racing to start, in just a minute or two.
Right, let’s get the important stuff out of the way. Here’s William Fotheringham’s pocket guide to today’s stage, which starts at Pau – birthplace of Isaac de Porthau, real-life musketeer and inspiration for Alexandre Dumas’s Porthos, fact fans – and ends at Laruns. I can’t find much to tell you about Laruns, but according to cheese.com it “is home to numerous artisanal cheesemakers who primarily produce cheese from ewe’s milk. However, locals also produce versions of cheese from cow’s and goat’s milk.” So, there’s that:
Stage nine, 6 September, Pau – Laruns, 154km
A break should succeed today: there will be an intense battle until it forms and it will get whittled down on the Col de Marie-Blanque 19km from the finish. One for a climber who can finish well, and isn’t high up overall: if Ireland’s Daniel Martin or Uran are not in the top 20 they will target this one.
The stage has several bumps and sprints, and looks approximately like this:
And here are the leaders in the general classification:
1 Adam Yates Mitchelton-Scott 34hrs 44mins 52secs
2 Primoz Roglic Team Jumbo-Visma at +3s
3 Guillaume Martin Cofidis at +9s
4 Romain Bardet AG2R la Mondiale at +11s
5 Egan Bernal Ineos Grenadiers at +13s
6 Nairo Quintana Team Arkea-Samsic
7 Miguel Angel Lopez Astana Pro Team
8 Rigoberto Uran EF Pro Cycling all at same time
9 Tadej Pogacar UAE Team Emirates at +48s
10 Enric Mas Nicolau Movistar Team at +1m
11 Emanuel Buchmann Bora-Hansgrohe at +1m 25s
12 Mikel Landa Meana Bahrain McLaren at +1m 34s
13 Richie Porte Trek-Segafredo at same time
14 Bauke Mollema Trek-Segafredo at +2m 12s
15 Tom Dumoulin Team Jumbo-Visma at +2m 20s