Froome steals the show on stage eight

A triumphant late attack from Chris Froome saw the defending Tour de France champion power to victory on stage eight and take the leader's yellow jersey.

The second day in the Pyrenees – and the first really punishing one – saw previous race leader Greg van Avermaet lose as much as 25 minutes to the climbers in the overall standings.

The 183km stage from Pau to Bagneres-de-Luchon featured four mountains, with sweltering temperatures not making life any easier for the riders.

Froome's late surge was set up by Team Sky who stepped up the pace during the last climb of the day.

After being the first man to reach the final 1,569m summit, Froome launched an immediate attack on the 17km descent, catching his rivals napping.

Nairo Quintana waited for team-mate Alejandro Valverde to respond, but by the time he arrived at the front of the group, the moment had passed.

Froome would end up finishing 13 seconds clear of Daniel Martin in second, with Joaquim Rodriguez taking third.

Froome now leads Rodriguez and Adam Yates by 16 seconds overall in the general classification.

"It definitely wasn't planned, I went to the top and thought 'why not'?" Froome said afterwards.

"I knew the descent was long and fast, and I had some big gears on, so it was in the back of my mind. I heard on the radio I had a gap so I just went for it to the finish. I spent a lot of energy there but everyone pedalled fast on the descent.

"We do mess round in training racing each other downhill sometimes, so that came in handy, but thanks to my team – they rode so hard all day and the peloton was on the limit."

Stage eight results

1. Chris Froome (Britain / Team Sky) 4:57:33"
2. Daniel Martin (Ireland / Etixx – Quick-Step) 13"
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain / Katusha)
4. Romain Bardet (France / AG2R)
5. Roman Kreuziger (Czech Republic / Tinkoff)
6. Fabio Aru (Italy / Astana) 7. Adam Yates (Britain / Orica)
8. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar)
9. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands / Trek)
10. Richie Porte (Australia / BMC Racing)

General classification after stage eight

1. Chris Froome (Britain / Team Sky) 39:13:04"
2. Adam Yates (Britain / Orica) 16"
3. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spain / Katusha)
4. Daniel Martin (Ireland / Etixx – Quick-Step) 17"
5. Alejandro Valverde (Spain / Movistar) 19"
6. Nairo Quintana (Colombia / Movistar) 23"
7. Fabio Aru (Italy / Astana)
8. Tejay van Garderen (U.S. / BMC Racing)
9. Romain Bardet (France / AG2R)
10. Bauke Mollema (Netherlands / Trek)