Analytics in Action – Stage 8Blog
Calmejane delivers an outstanding breakout performance
French youngster Lilian Calmejane (DEN) made the most of a very demanding stage on Sunday. An impressive ride earned him his first win on the Tour de France.
True talent always has a way of making itself known, sometimes even trumping experience. At only 24, and eight days into his first Tour de France, Lilian Calmejane (DEN) can already put a mountain stage victory to his name following an outstanding ride on the way to Station des Rousses on Sunday. At an average speed of 41.59km/h on an extremely demanding route, the French youngster proved he had both the legs and the head to establish himself as one of the most promising riders in the peloton.
Also a mountain stage victor on his first Grand Tour ride in Spain last September, Calmejane (DEN) dominated veterans like Robert Gesink (TLJ) and Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) in the last climb of the day: a punishing 11.7km climb (average gradient at 6.4%), which he covered at an average of 20.70km/h. This was enough to hold off his breakaway rivals as well as the main bunch, where Chris Froome (SKY) easily maintained his General Classification lead.
It took 60km of very hard racing for a group of 46 riders to escape the main bunch. And still attacks kept coming, with strong riders such as Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) going at it full tilt. But with a lead of no more than 1'30” over the main General Classification contenders at the bottom of the day’s main climb, the attackers’ attempts seemed futile. That is, until Calmejane (DEN) went for the win.
While attackers were giving their all in pursuit of glory, the big sprinters who snatched most prizes so far emptied their tanks, hoping only for survival. Already lagging behind after 25km of racing, Démare (FDJ) didn't have much to run with. Fortunately for him, the support of two teammates all day long got him to the finish inside the time cut, 37’33” after the stage winner.
Key data highlights:
1.) Seven years ago, on the only previous Tour stage finish at Station les Rousses, French veteran Sylvain Chavanel (DEN) took the win. He now rides in the same team as Calmejane (DEN).
2.) Calmejane (DEN) was 0.74km/h faster than Froome (SKY) in the final climb.
3.) The peloton covered no less than 46.8km in the first hour of racing, over both flat and uphill terrains.
4.) 90km into the stage, French champion Arnaud Démare (FDJ) was already 10km behind the race leaders.
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