In a solo breakaway, Blel Kadri gave France its first stage winner at the Tour de France in the entree to the Vosges mountains on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali extended his lead over his biggest rivals except an important one: Two-time champion Alberto Contador.
Over two minutes back, an attacking Contador dueled with Nibali to capture second place at the uphill finish of a rainy 100-mile ride from Tomblaine to Gerardmer La Mauselaine ski resort. Contador gained only seconds on Nibali, and was still 2 1/2 minutes behind him, but the threat was loud and clear.
The overall standings changed after Stage 8, with mostly strong climbers at the top.