Frenchman Calmejane wins Tour de France stage eight

Fabio Aru claimed his maiden Tour de France win in Paris

Britain's Chris Froome had a minor scare when he went off the road in a descent, but the Team Sky rider kept his cool in sweltering heat to retain the overall leader's yellow jersey.

Froome's teammates at Sky had to ride hard to make sure that riders who rode off at the front of the race, chasing the stage victory, didn't get too far ahead and take the overall lead away from him.

Calmejane, riding for French team Direct Energie, fought cramp after breaking away on the final climb and hung on, tongue lolling, for victory in only the second visit by the Tour to the Rousses, with its cross-country ski trails through dense forests.

He had claimed on Friday that Saturday's stage wouldn't see much in the way of a battle amongst the top contenders and it proved the case as the favourites opted to keep the powder dry ahead of Sunday's gruelling mountain stage that includes three hors category climbs. Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) +12s 3.

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Froome's day wasn't without incident: On a downhill, right-hand bend after the second of three rated climbs on the 187.5 kilometer (116-mile) stage from Dole, the three-time Tour champion went straight into roadside gravel instead of cornering.

The corner "sprang up on us a little bit", Froome said.

Calmejane, nearly came to a halt five kilometers from the line, however, due to cramp in his right thigh. Froome managed to stay on his bike and quickly recover. Robert Gesink (Lotto NL-Jumbo) +0:37 3.

In his first time taking part in the Tour de France, Calmejane added to the single stage victory he clinched at last year's Vuelta a Espana by adding to his race record another empowering triumph.

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Kittel looked to be struggling in the final dash for the line as he failed to grab a wheel, but an 11th Tour stage win was secured in typically explosive fashion to mark a good day for the 29-year-old.

It was a tough day, though, for the three-man breakaway and perhaps most of all for Laengen, who was named the most aggressive rider at the end of the stage.

Froome and his rivals for the yellow jersey were 50 seconds back from Calmejane, preserving some energy with a fearsome stage nine to come on Sunday.

An ascent of the Mont du Chat comes late in the 181.5km route from Nantua to Chambery, which includes as many of seven climbs in all and could have a huge say in how the Tour pans out.

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