Egan Bernal struggled to keep pace with Primož Roglič in the punishing ascent to the Col de Peyresourde on Sunday morning (AEST), but a decent job at pacing himself left him where he wants to be - still in the Tour de France favourite's slipstream.
SBS Cycling Central

6 Sep 2020 - 8:27 AM 

The defending Tour de France champion, who is biding his time until the race hits the longer climbs of the Alps in the third week, trails Slovenian Roglic by 10 seconds after Stage 8.

"In the last two climbs the pace was really fast," Bernal said.

"It was not easy to stay with Roglič but I'm happy I stayed with the first group."

Bernal was briefly dropped several times when Roglič upped the pace in the final climb, a 9.7 km effort at an average gradient of 7.8%, to control fellow Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.

But every time he fought his way back, also with the help of Ineos teammate and Giro d'Italia champion Richard Carapaz, while Roglič  had no support.

Pinot suffers massive setback on the Port de Balès
Groupama-FDJ rider Thibaut Pinot's 2020 Tour de France hopes are all but over as the Frenchman was dropped on the second climb of Stage 8 in the Pyrenees.
SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker - The place to watch the Tour de France in full
The 2020 Tour de France on SBS will be covered from the start in sunny Nice to the sunset on the Champs-Élysées, with exclusive live start to finish coverage of every stage through the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker.
How to watch the 2020 Tour de France LIVE on SBS
The mountains are calling - escape to France with us. Don't miss a single minute of the 2020 Tour de France as SBS brings you every moment LIVE, FREE and EXCLUSIVE via SBS, SBS VICELAND and streaming online via SBS On Demand and the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker App.

Jumbo Visma's Tom Dumoulin, the team's 'plan B', rode a hard pace to test the favourites, but the move backfired as he imploded and the Dutchman lost all hope of winning the race, leaving Roglic alone in the main contenders' group.

"When Dumoulin set the hard pace in the last climb I had the feeling I could not sustain it until the finale," Bernal said.

"I looked at the (power) numbers and I could not do this until the finale so I tried to manage myself. I tried to do what was best for me and I think I did a good job."

Bernal, who was suffering from back pains before the Tour, is expected to fare better in the Alps - where the longer climbs suit his abilities better.

The last Alpine stage also finished at 2,300 metres in Meribel, an altitude that could favour the Colombian.

But did Roglič miss a chance to put the hammer down?

"It was a hard tempo but like I said it's the first mountain stage and there is still a lot to come," Roglič said.

The Tour de France continues in the Pyrenees tomorrow, with another mountainous stage from Pau to Laurens set to test the peloton with steep climbs on the agenda. Watch the action from 8:05pm AEST on the SBS ŠKODA Tour Tracker and from 8:30pm on SBS and via SBS On Demand.