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Tour de France standings 2016: Chris Froome takes yellow jersey with a surprise attack on Stage 8

Chris Froome has been chided for being a cautious rider at the Tour de France. He did away with that narrative by catching all of his rivals off guard on the descent from the Col de Peyresourde and taking the yellow jersey.

Chris Froome bolted away from Nairo Quintana as he took the summit of the Col de Peyresourde on Stage 8 of the 2016 Tour de France. Seemingly nobody expected it. Long considered a cautious, calculated rider, Froome's move was out of character, and the fact appeared to work in his favor. He pulled away from his rivals and became the new yellow jersey bearer.

The start of the day looked like Thibaut Pinot's redemption after a bad Stage 7. Pinot, Rafał Majka and Tony Martin hit the Col de Tourmalet together and maintained a solid gap to the peloton as they ascended. Pinot took over the virtual polka dot jersey as the king of the mountains by surmounting Tourmalet and Hourquette d'Ancizan in first place on the stage.

Then he bonked. The breakaway group was swallowed up by the peloton just before the third climb of the day up Col de Val Louron-Azet, and Pinot quickly fell off the back. Then Majka took over the virtual polka dot jersey, adding insult to an already bad day for the Frenchman, once expected to challenge for first place on the final general classification.

The peloton ramped up its pace with Team Sky leading the way. Froome had plenty of support with him at the head of the peloton. With so much strength in numbers, Sky was able to simultaneously police any breakaway and winnow out all but the best climbers.

In contrast, Movistar found themselves with fewer options. Of course, Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde don't require much support, especially when they can ride for each other. They were content to hang off Sky's wheels as the peloton hopped onto the last climb of the day, the Col de Peyresourde.

The attacks and counter attacks began in the last few kilometers of the final climb. Romain Bardet prodded only to be reined in. Then, approaching the summit of Peyresourde, Froome made his move, going over the top in first place then accelerating away and catching Quintana unaware just before the descent. There was little reaction from the rest of the riders.

Sunday's Stage 9, a mountain-top finish, is expected to open up the general classification even more. That might explain the dull reaction from the field. Still, the favorite to win the Tour de France just stole free seconds from his opponents. That should definitely worry anyone who has aspirations of wearing yellow in Paris.

Stage 8 top 10

1. Chris Froome - 4h 57'33"

2. Dan Martin + 13"

3. Joaquim Rodriguez + 13"

4. Romain Bardet + 13"

5. Rom Kreuziger + 13"

6. Fabio Aru + 13"

7. Adam Yates + 13"

8. Alejandro Valverde + 13"

9. Bauke Mollema + 13"

10. Richie Porte + 13"

General classification top 10 after Stage 8

1. Chris Froome

2. Adam Yates + 16"

3. Joaquim Rodriguez + 16"

4. Daniel Martin + 17"

5. Alejandro Valverde + 19"

6. Nairo Quintana + 23"

7. Fabio Aru + 23"

8. Tejay Van Garderen + 23"

9. Romain Bardet + 23"

10. Bauke Mollema + 23"