Dutch ace Dylan Groenewegen sprinted to a second straight win on stage eight of the Tour de France (TdF) on Saturday as second and third Andre Greipel and Fernando Gaviria were disqualified for elbowing and headbutting at 70km/h.
The 2018 Tour de France has reached its first rest day, and the nine previous stages have been a mixed bag in terms entertainment for spectators.
"It was a hectic (finish), but that's every day in the Tour", Groenewegen said.
Slovakia's Peter Sagan was promoted to second, and German John Degenkolb to third.
"At the end of the day I won a stage in the Tour this year".
Instead, the Olympic champion managed to strengthen his hold on the yellow jersey when an anticipated attack never came on Tuesday's (Wednesday NZT) stage 10.
"Dave will certainly get in both their ears and make them both think they can win it as a way of motivating them and as a way of playing this card as long as possible until there is a natural selection, a mountain stage or the Time Trail, or until there has to be a decision".
Van Avermaet was fourth, a further 4 seconds back, and consolidates his overall lead on Geraint Thomas by 1 minute 39 seconds, the Team Sky rider coming across the line in a group that included team-mate and defending champion Chris Froome.
Van Avermaet picked up a one-second bonus overall during an intermediate bonus sprint at 20K from the finish.
"There are still a lot of contenders in the game, I think the race will be very tight in the Alps", said Bardet who lags 50 seconds behind Froome.
The prize was boosting his 43-second lead over Froome's teammate, Geraint Thomas, to an advantage of 2 minutes, 22 seconds.
"He has cuts and burns, so tomorrow it is going to be a tough day for sure", UAE Team Emirates director Philippe Mauduit said. "Obviously Geraint is in the flawless place now, we should see him going in to yellow over the next couple of days", Briton Froome told reporters on Monday.