France's Nans Peters won the eighth stage of the Tour de France, a 141-km mountain trek from Cazeres-sur-Garonne on Saturday.

French fan favourite Thibaut Pinot effectively lost all hope of becoming the first Frenchman to win the race since 1985, however, when he was dropped on the Port de Bales, the second ascent of the day. 

The Groupama-FDJ rider has been receiving daily treatment since hitting the deck hard in Nice, but cracked early on the first hors categorie climb of the Tour as the main peloton took six minutes out of him before the summit.

The sight of a team-mate draping a consoling arm around Pinot's shoulder midway up the climb indicated his Tour hopes are over even before the first rest day. 

With three big climbs it was not a stage that would have much impact on the points classification, but Sam Bennett did claw back two points in the green jersey race, where he narrowly trails Peter Sagan, thanks to an early intermediate sprint.

The Carrick-on-Suir rider is now just seven points behind Sagan, with 131 points to the Slovakian's 138. Sunday's 153-kilometre mountain stage from Pau to Laruns features one intermediate sprint, where the Deceuninck-QuickStep rider might be able to regain the maillot vert.

Adam Yates was made to fight all the way to hold on to his yellow jersey as he faced a series of attacks on the Col de Peyresourde, the final climb of the day, but each time the Mitchelton-Scott man responded to retain his three-second advantage over Primoz Roglic.

Julian Alaphilippe went first but quickly blew and was spat out of the back, his overall challenge now over.

Yates was distanced three times as Roglic tried to get clear, but each time the English rider remained calm and paced his way back on to the wheels of his rivals.

Tadej Pogacar, among the riders to lose 81 seconds in the crosswinds on Friday, did get away to recover some time but there was no change at the very top of the standings.

Nicholas Roche is in 59th position overall, 46 minutes and 36 seconds behind Yates, with Dan Martin in 71st, almost an hour down.