Dylan Groenewegen made it back-to-back wins at the Tour de France as he came out on top in a sprint finish at the end of stage eight.
Julian Alaphilippe became the first Frenchman to win a stage in this year's Tour, claiming the 10th stage that included three first-category climbs and a beyond-category climb but ended with a descent and the contenders together in the peloton.
"There's a lot of emotion, because winning at the Tour is not easy", said Alaphilippe.
Wiggins was in the same situation when Froome was his "domestique" on Sky and there was controversy on the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, where Wiggins finished third, and the 2012 Tour, which he won, with Froome second in both races.
It saw Slovakia's world champion Peter Sagan, who also has two stage wins, elevated to second.
"My shape is getting better by the day, I'm proud that I won again today", said Groenewegen, who won the final stage on the Champs Elysees a year ago.
A handshake in Helsinki, then two presidents get down to business
On Saturday, he created waves on Twitter after branding the EU, China, and Russian Federation " foes " of the US. The demonstrations were peaceful and crossed political party lines to protest against both Trump and Putin.
Froome recovered quickly to rejoin teammate Thomas but the Team Sky riders had fallen nearly seven minutes behind Van Avermaet and the breakaway group.
"I've felt better obviously, but it's not as bad as (it could be)", he said.
Sunday's Stage 9 will take riders over 15 cobbled paths scattered along 21.7 kilometers of the 156.5-kilometer course from Arras to Roubaix, near the Belgian border.
"He has cuts and burns, so tomorrow it is going to be a tough day for sure", UAE Team Emirates director Philippe Mauduit said.
"The race will decide that", Froome told reporters Monday, the Tour's first rest day. Froome is followed by Spaniard Mikel Landa in the same time and 2014 Tour victor Vincenzo Nibali another six seconds back.
"There are going to be losses on GC and it just depends what side of that you are on - we hope to be on the right side".