CENTRAL Victorian cycling star Zak Dempster rode through the rain and pain as the Tour de France hit the hills on Saturday night (AEST).
The field raced 161km from Tomblaine to Garadmer.
Racing in the Tour de France for the first time, Dempster finished the gruelling stage 20.32 minutes adrift of winner Blel Kadri of France.
The NetApp-Endura team member is 145th in a field of 184 at 1 hour 1.09 minutes behind Tour leader Vincenco Nibali.
Big movers in stage eight were Spanish ace Alberto Contador, second in the climb at Garadmer, and Australia's Richie Porte, who was fourth in the stage and jump to third in the general classification at 1.58 minutes behind Tour leader Vincenzo Nibali.
NetApp-Endura is now 13th in the team standings.
Dempster's feat to earn selection for the Tour de France earned the June award in the Bendigo Advertiser-Prime 7 Sports Star of the Year award.
Now in its 50th year, Sports Star is proudly sponsored by Bendigo Bank.
Sunday's ninth stage in the Tour de France is a 170km duel from Garadmer to Mulhouse.