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  Sunday, 14 July, 2002, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Kroon takes stage victory
Karsten Kroon celebrates the stage win
Kroon ruined French celebrations on stage eight


Holland's Karsten Kroon dashed French hopes on Bastille Day by storming to victory on stage eight of the Tour de France.

Kroon, competing in his first Tour, was part of a seven-man breakaway to pull away from the peloton two hours into Sunday's stage.

The leading teams failed to close the gap as the Rabobank rider got the better of Servais Knaven and team-mate Erik Dekker for a Dutch one-two-three.


I'm normally not very emotional, but I just can't hold back the tears after this win
Karsten Kroon

Dekker looked to have initially done enough for victory as he headed for the line 400 metres out but was caught by Sebastien Hinault. The Breton rider was in turn outfoxed by Kroon.

The 26-year-old burst into tears after his victory.

He said: "I'm normally not very emotional, but I just can't hold back the tears after this win. I'm really moved.

"I'm just delighted to have done all that and won a stage today. I have to thank Erik (Dekker) who helped me in the final sprint."

Robbie McEwen took the edge in his battle for the green jersey by leading home the peloton, while sprint rival Erik Zabel was a place back in ninth.

The day started without another of the top sprinters, world champion Oscar Freire, who was forced to retire with a back injury after being involved in a massive crash on Saturday's seventh stage.

Sunday's racing, though, was accident free apart from a slight stumble by Jacky Durand.

Lance Armstrong
Armstrong steered clear of danger

Appropriately it was Durand who made the first mark on the day's racing with what is, by now, a daily attack from the Frenchman.

But it was the group of seven who finally got the better of the chasing pack.

Led by Hinault, riding on his home turf, Franck Renier, the Tour's most aggressive rider so far, and Dekker, a regular stage winner on the Tour, they built a lead of up to six minutes.

Britain's David Millar tried to get together with the breakaway but was sucked back into the peloton almost immediately.

At one stage, that septet looked like they would be caught as their lead was whittled down by the ONCE and AG2R riders.

But eventually they did enough to stay two minutes clear.

Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano held on to the yellow jersey as he finished in the peloton while Lance Armstrong also stayed out of trouble.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Simon Brotherton
"Tears of joy on the podium for Kroon"
Stage winner Karsten Kroon
"I rarely lose a sprint like that"
All the actiion from the world's greatest bike race

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