NANTES, France — Belgium's Eddy Planckaert sprinted ahead of the pack to take the 127-mile eighth stage of the Tour de France bicycle race Friday, while Denmark's Joergen Pedersen retained the overall lead.
Planckaert, a 27-year-old rider on the Pansonic team, finished the mostly flat stage from St. Hilaire-de-Harcouet to Nantes with a time of 4 hours 39 minutes 55 seconds.
Dutchman Johan Van der Velde trailed Pedersen by eight seconds in the overall standings. Italian Guido Bontempi kept the No. 3 spot, 27 seconds back, and Frenchman Dominique Gaigne was fourth, 44 seconds behind the leader.
Two-time winner Laurent Fignon of France was fifth.
The top American riders in the overall standings were Greg Lemond in 35th, 2 minutes 58 seconds off the pace; Andrew Hampsten in 45th, 3:11 back, and Ron Kiefel in 80th, 4:42 behind. Eric Heiden was 96th, 5:53 behind the leader.