Belgium's Thomas De Gendt has won stage 8 of the Tour de France after a solo breakaway, but the cheers were louder in St Etienne as home hero Julian Alaphilippe moved back into the race lead. He will be back in the yellow jersey for the Bastille Day national holiday on Sunday.
De Gendt won the 200-km hilly stage from Macon from a breakaway, ahead of the duo of Alaphilippe and fellow Frenchman Thibault Pinot, who underlined his credentials as a title contender. He was the only rider able to follow Alaphilippe's brutal attack in the last climb with about 13 kilometres left.
The French pair went full gas in the descent into St Etienne and held off a trimmed peloton at the finish.
They crossed the line six seconds behind De Gendt, but 20 seconds ahead of the bunch featuring defending champion Geraint Thomas, who suffered a scare 15 kilometres from the finish when he took a minor tumble.
Alaphilippe now leads Italian Giulio Ciccone, who started the day in yellow, by 23 seconds and Pinot, who gained bonus seconds in the last ascent and at the finish, by 53 seconds.