No chance for the escapees. Even with the difficult arrival in Lausanne, the top favorites of the Tour de France are among the front runners. Meanwhile there are the first corona cases in the peloton.

Stage winner Wout van Aert and leader Tadej Pogacar rolled the lactate out of their legs side by side at the Olympic Stadium in Lausanne.

The Belgian and the Slovenian dominator had previously fought a gripping duel on the steep final ramp for the day’s victory in the eighth stage of the Tour de France – with the better end for the Belgian professional cyclist van Aert. The green jersey wearer won ahead of Australia’s Michael Matthews and Pogacar, who again collected important bonus seconds.

Hardly any shifts in the classification

“I’m happy about the win, I wanted the points for the green jersey. My team did a great job of preparing it and I just had to finish it,” said van Aert, who had to fight in the final four-kilometer climb from Lake Geneva to the headquarters of the International Olympic Committee: “It was a tough climb. I had to fight to stay on Pogacar’s back wheel.”

There were only small shifts in the overall ranking. Pogacar extended his lead with a four-second time credit and is 39 seconds clear of last year’s runner-up Jonas Vingegaard. Above all, the Dane is hoping for the longer climbs in the Alps next week to attack Pogacar. Third is Geraint Thomas, 1:14 behind. The Welshman is in better shape than he has perhaps been since his 2018 Tour win.

Chessman involved in fall

After the first mountain finish, the peloton was willing to take it easy and give breakaways a chance. But the stage began as hectic as in the previous days. After eleven kilometers, a serious fall occurred on a straight road, in which Maximilian Schachmann and Pogacar were involved. “I couldn’t brake anymore and fell flat on my face,” said Schachmann. The Slovenian’s UAE team calmed the pace in the field until their captain, who had been a minute and a half behind, caught up again.

A trio of breakaways dominated the stage for a long time. Italy’s Mattia Cattaneo, Belgium’s Frederik Frison and Britain’s Fred Wright broke away shortly before the Pogacar crash and gained a maximum lead of three and a half minutes. Frison was then unable to pursue his fellow escapee, then Cattaneo lost his strength and Wright was caught 3.5 kilometers from the finish.

First corona cases in the peloton

Before the start of the stage, the first corona cases of the tour were reported. Pogacar’s Norwegian teammate Vegard Stake Laengen had to retire after a positive test, as did Frenchman Geoffrey Bouchard. Before the start of the tour in Copenhagen, six drivers had to leave due to positive tests. On the first rest day on Monday there are mandatory tests for all drivers and supervisors.

“Vegard was negative in our internal tests on Friday morning. In the evening he complained of a sore throat and a rapid test was positive. A PCR test confirmed the result,” said UAE doctor Adriano Rotunno. AG2R announced that all drivers and supervisors were given quick tests every three days. There were tests by the organizers.

The world association UCI had relaxed the corona rules a few days before the start of the tour. Instead of PCR tests, only quick tests were sufficient, and a team no longer has to leave the race after two drivers have tested positive. A new rule also states that a driver can remain in the race despite a positive test if he is symptom-free and not contagious. Such was the case with Luxembourg’s Bob Jungels, a teammate of Bouchard.