Tour de France 2017: French wildcard team claims stage victory as Team Sky duo nearly come unstuck

 
Oliver Gill
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Le Tour de France 2017 - Stage Eight
Stage winner Lilian Calmejane's day was nearly spoilt by excruciating leg cramps (Source: Getty)

French underdog Lilian Calmejane soloed to victory on stage eight of the Tour de France as Team Sky’s leading duo were reminded how an easy mistake could shatter plans to win the race.

Close gaps in the general classification meant a number of teams decided to try and take advantage of the lumpy profile on the 188km stage from Dole to Station de Rousses.

Team Sky race leader Chris Froome said: "Today some teams wanted the [race leader's] yellow jersey… we couldn’t let them go.”

We've had to ride at the very high tempo behind them.

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With 45km to go Froome and second-placed teammate Geraint Thomas nearly came a cropper after misjudging a corner. Both were forced onto the grass verge.

Froome said: “The incident I had in a corner was a little bit of a reminder of how quickly things can change in the Tour de France. It can the moment that end your race but Geraint Thomas is alright and I didn't fall.”

Calmejane’s team is one of 22 Pro-Continental outfits – effectively the second division of professional cycling. Top-level World Tour teams participate in the Tour with the organisers selecting a handful of second tier parties.

The Frenchman attacked on the final climb and despite enduring bike-stopping cramp in the final five kilometres said it had been a “fantastic” day.

Source: Le Tour de France

The top 10 on general classification was unchanged but with 61 seconds separating first and tenth, fireworks are expected tomorrow.

Froome said:

I think tomorrow we could see the GC [general classification] really blown to pieces and proper gaps opening up.

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Stage result

RANK RIDER TEAM TIMES GAP
1 CALMEJANE LILIAN DIRECT ENERGIE 04H 30' 29''
2 GESINK ROBERT TEAM LOTTO NL - JUMBO 04H 31' 06'' + 00' 37''
3 MARTIN GUILLAUME WANTY - GROUPE GOBERT 04H 31' 19'' + 00' 50''
4 ROCHE NICOLAS BMC RACING TEAM 04H 31' 19'' + 00' 50''
5 KREUZIGER ROMAN ORICA - SCOTT 04H 31' 19'' + 00' 50''
6 ARU FABIO ASTANA PRO TEAM 04H 31' 19'' + 00' 50''
7 VALGREN ANDERSEN MICHAEL ASTANA PRO TEAM 04H 31' 19'' + 00' 50''
8 MAJKA RAFAL BORA - HANSGROHE 04H 31' 19'' + 00' 50''
9 BROWN NATHAN CANNONDALE DRAPAC 04H 31' 19'' + 00' 50''
10 HARDY ROMAIN TEAM FORTUNEO - OSCARO 04H 31' 19'' + 00' 50''

General classification

RANK RIDER TEAM TIMES GAP
1 FROOME CHRISTOPHER TEAM SKY 33H 19' 10''
2 THOMAS GERAINT TEAM SKY 33H 19' 22'' + 00' 12''
3 ARU FABIO ASTANA PRO TEAM 33H 19' 24'' + 00' 14''
4 MARTIN DANIEL QUICK - STEP FLOORS 33H 19' 35'' + 00' 25''
5 PORTE RICHIE BMC RACING TEAM 33H 19' 49'' + 00' 39''
6 YATES SIMON ORICA - SCOTT 33H 19' 53'' + 00' 43''
7 BARDET ROMAIN AG2R LA MONDIALE 33H 19' 57'' + 00' 47''
8 CONTADOR ALBERTO TREK - SEGAFREDO 33H 20' 02'' + 00' 52''
9 QUINTANA NAIRO MOVISTAR TEAM 33H 20' 04'' + 00' 54''
10 MAJKA RAFAL BORA - HANSGROHE 33H 20' 11'' + 01' 01''

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