After five hours of exhaustion on the saddle across seven short but punishing climbs, Alaphilippe claimed back the yellow jersey with one of his trademarks attacks, while Pinot asserted himself as a strong contender for the final victory by gaining time on Thomas and co. 'So I was kind of gassed for a bit.
Behind De Gendt, Pinot and Alaphilippe, Michael Matthews won the best-of-the-rest sprint for more validation he is doing a lot right.
"It's annoying and frustrating but to come back like I did [is pleasing]."
"I'm fine but it was just frustrating", he said.
"I was ready if I needed to wait for him but they didn't ask me so I just stayed in the group".
Julian Alaphilippe reclaimed the Tour de France's yellow jersey and Thibaut Pinot underlined his title credentials as the French pair highly impressed in a spectacular eighth-stage finale on Saturday.
De Gendt's incredible victory came after he was part of the original breakaway group of four before outlasting his fellow escapees, a charging peloton and then Alaphilippe and Pinot in the frantic closing stages.
Now the Frenchman will have the honour of sporting it for Sunday's Bastille Day stage to Brioude. Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-Quick Step) " 4. I knew my deficit on GC was only six seconds but it was a big task at the same time.
After placing 30th on the stage, Bennett is 17 seconds behind Pinot, two seconds ahead of Thomas, who crashed about 15 kilometres from the end but escaped unscathed and crossed the finish line 10th, 20 seconds behind Alaphilippe and Pinot.
"It was a fantastic finale, it was attractive to go together like this and we showed that we can work together even if we're in different teams", said Alaphilippe, whose move was highly expected as bonus seconds were up for grabs in the ascent to the Cote de la Jaillere and at the finish.
But Alaphilippe was able to take back the yellow jersey ahead of the country's Bastille Day celebrations.
"It hurts so much but it's wonderful", the Belgian said "It's also mission accomplished for the team".
Carrying the hopes of a country that has not seen a homegrown Tour victor in 34 years, the French pair emerged as the big winners on the latest stage, which saw Geraint Thomas crash and lose ground in the defence of his title.
"We nearly got it yesterday with Caleb [Ewan]".
"We chose to ride to give me a shot at the stage and I think we did a really good job", he said.