VILLENEUVE-SUR-LOT, France (AP) _ Dutchman Erik Dekker pulled clear of a group of 17 riders to win Saturday's eighth stage of the Tour de France.

Defending champion Lance Armstrong remained in the pack more than six minutes behind, along with his main challengers for the title, and still looks well-placed before the mountain stages which begin on Monday.

Dekker won the 126-mile stage from Limoges to Villeneuve-sur-Lot in southwest France in 4 hours, 22 minutes, 14 seconds.

He was among a group of 17 riders that opened up a gap in mile 34 and kept clear until the finishing line.

Xavier Jan of France was second, 52 seconds back, with Jose-Vicente Garcia-Acosta of Spain third, 56 seconds behind the winner.