Lilian Calmejane leads breakaway to win 8th stage of Tour de France

Lilian Calmejane tour de france 2017

Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie) won the eighth stage of the Tour de France, a 187.5-km trek from Dole on Saturday.

Calmejane, in only his second year as a professional, dropped his breakaway companions in the last climb of the day and despite cramping up in the closing stages, held off Robert Gesink for a second grand tour stage win. Another Frenchman, Guillaume Martin (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), took third place.

Chris Froome had a minor scare when he went off the road in a descent, but the Team Sky rider kept his cool in sweltering heat to retain the overall leader’s yellow jersey.

“Me and (team mate) Geraint (Thomas) took the wrong trajectory in a corner and we went off the road, it happens sometimes,” said Froome.

Thomas crashed but he was quickly back on his bike.

Calmejane of Direct Energie kept his strategy close to his chest in the day’s breakaway, but barely looked back after pulling away in the 11.7-km climb to La Combe de Laisia.

Gesink (LottoNL-Jumbo) chased hard but the Frenchman had too much power in the finale. Calmejane, almost came to a halt five kilometers from the line, however, due to cramp in his right thigh.

“It’s huge. It was everything I was dreaming of,” said Calmejane, who won a stage in last year’s Vuelta. “When I had cramp in the finale, I decided to drop a gear so I could pedal softer,” he said.

“I suffered like never before,” added Calmejane, who snatched the polka-dot jersey as mountains leader.

Team Sky were in control all day despite a hectic start to the stage, with almost 50 riders managing to break away from the main pack.

Dan Martin attacked from the pack in the finale but the Quick-Step Floors rider, fourth overall, was quickly reined in.

They will be further tested on Sunday, when the ninth stage takes the peloton through the Jura mountains with three lung-busting climbs in prospect before a dangerous descent to Chambery.

“Tomorrow will be a very very hard day, it will be very selective,” said Froome ahead of a stage that features 4,700m of climbing.

Froome holds a 12-second lead over Thomas with in-form Fabio Aru of Italy in third place, 14 seconds off the pace.

Tour de France 2017 – stage 8 results (Dole – Station des Rousses):

1 Lilian Calmejane (Direct Energie)


2 Robert Gesink (LottoNl-Jumbo)


3 Guillaume Martin (Wanty – Groupe Gobert)


4 Nicolas Roche (BMC)


5 Roman Kreuziger (Orica-Scott)


6 Fabio Aru (Astana)


7 Michael Valgren (Astana)


8 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


9 Nathan Brown (Cannondale-Drapac)


10 Romain Hardy (Fortuneo – Oscaro)


11 Carlos Betancur (Movistar)


12 Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates)


13 Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors)


14 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


15 Mikel Landa (Team Sky)


16 Damiano Caruso (BMC)


17 Richie Porte (BMC)


18 Chris Froome (Team Sky)


19 George Bennett (LottoNl-Jumbo)


20 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


General classification after stage 8:

1 Christopher Froome (Team Sky)


2 Geraint Thomas (Team Sky)


3 Fabio Aru (Astana)


4 Daniel Martin (Quick-Step Floors)


5 Richie Porte (BMC)


6 Simon Yates (Orica-Scott)


7 Romain Bardet (AG2R)


8 Alberto Contador (Trek-Segafredo)


9 Nairo Quintana (Movistar)


10 Rafal Majka (Bora-hansgrohe)


11 Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac)


12 Pierre Latour (AG2R)


13 Louis Meintjes (UAE Team Emirates)


14 Emanuel Buchmann (Bora-hansgrohe)


15 Jakob Fuglsang (Astana)


16 Mikel Landa (Team Sky)


17 Andrew Talansky (Cannondale-Drapac)


18 Serge Pauwels (Dimension Data)


19 Nicolas Roche (BMC)


20 Guillaume Martin (Wanty – Groupe Gobert)



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