Arnold Jeannesson of France won Saturday's Stage 8 of the Tour de l'Avenir, and moved himself up to third in the general classification. Jan Bakelants successfully defended his leader's jersey against a strong ride by Rui Costa of Portugal. Costa sits just 36 seconds down on Bakelants. American Peter Stetina fell to tenth in the general classification after the tough day in the mountains. His team-mate Tejay Van Garderen finished a strong ninth on the stage.
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Arnold Jeannesson of France won Saturday's stage 8, between Revel and Guzet. Three catégorie 1 climbs, including a summit finishe faced the 73 riders who took the start in Revel. After 6 kilometers of racing, a group of six riders went on the attack: Cyril Gautier and Biel Kadri of France, Domenik Klemme of Germany, Ricardo Van der Velde of Belgium, Tobias Eggli of Switzerland, Jacques Jansevan–Rensbourg of a composite team. By kilometer 30, the six-man break held approximately 2 minutes over the main field, who appeared content to allow them their time in the wind.
After just over 100 kilometers of racing, the break hit the first major climb of the day, the Port de Lers. The main field had narrowed the escape's advantage to less than a minute. Two riders, Ricardo Van der Velde of Belgium and Cyril Gautier of France attacked from the break as they hit the lower slopes of the climb. Behind them, Arnold Jeannesson of France and Stefano Pirazzi of Italy attacked from the main field. Jeannesson and Pirazzi quickly overtook the leading duo of Gautier and Van der Velde. By the summit of the Port de Lers, Arnold Jeannesson had dropped Pirazzi and he crested the climb alone.
The main field, meanwhile, exploded under the pressure of Jeannesson's attack and the mountain's gradients. Jan Bakelants of Belgium fought a desperate battle to defend his leader's jersey as the field shattered into ones and twos, everyone for himself. On the Col de Agnes, with approximately 25 kilometers to go, Jeannesson remained alone in the lead. On the long descent to the Col de Latrape, Alexey Kunshin of Russia bridged across to Jeannesson. The French leader easily controlled a counter-attack from Kunshin on the Col de Latrape, and over the summit, Jeannesson held a 30 second gap over the Russian.
On the final climb of the day to Guzet, Jeannesson forged ahead alone, increasing his gap over Kunshin. Jeanesson won the stage by 1.04 over Kunshin. Jan Bakelants finished 10th, 3.46 behind the French winner, but his efforts proved sufficient to defend his race lead. Rui Costa of Portugal finished 3rd on the stage only 1.06 behind the hard-riding Frenchmen. Costa's ride moved him to second in the general classification, 36 seconds down on Jan Bakelants. Arnold Jeannesson's big ride gained him not only the stage win, but also third in the general. Jeannesson sits third at 42 seconds behind Bakelants. His team-mate Jérôme Coppel is now fourth at 1.36.
American Tejay Van Garderen finished 9th on the stage, and was the highest placed American. Former race leader, Peter Stetina slipped to 10th overall in GC, at 4.22. Stetina remains the highest placed American rider in the general classification.
For complete results, see the Official Site.
Race report drawn from the coverage at velo101.com and l'Équipe.fr.