Unusual Tour de France stage keeps Porte and Froome on their toes

Trevor Jackson
July 9, 2017

He had claimed on Friday that Saturday's stage wouldn't see much in the way of a battle amongst the top contenders and it proved the case as the favourites opted to keep the powder dry ahead of Sunday's gruelling mountain stage that includes three hors category climbs. Clear heads and quick reactions are a must: Not easy when body and brain are screaming for rest. "I hope there's some exhausted legs among them tomorrow".

The French Direct Energie rider looked to be cruising to victory, but in the final kilometres he cramped on his bike and nearly came to a standstill before eventually finding his rhythm again.

Calmejane's victory was the host nation's second in this year's Tour following Arnaud Demare's Stage 4 triumph in Vittel. "It can the moment that end your race but Geraint Thomas is alright and I didn't fall".

Direct Energie star Calmejane won the race from Dole to Station des Rousses by acutely timing his drive up the stage's final climb to take a lead the baying peloton could not cut down.

Thomas did not hit barriers, but did collide with a hay bale before picking himself up and pacing his way back in.

The corner "sprang up on us a little bit", Froome said.

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But Calmejane, 24, held an impressive one-and-a-half-minute cushion over the main group with a 10-kilometre flat awaiting him, but the young gun lost five seconds over Robert Gesink after coming down with cramp. Calmejane fell straight off his bike at the finishing line and was treated for his cramping legs.

"But having said that, I certainly wouldnt willingly give it up to any of my rivals".

Froome rode in 50 seconds after Calmejane - plenty close enough to retain the yellow jersey - in a group with all of the other top contenders for overall victory in Paris on July 23. "I imagine it's going to blow the general classification right open". "It would have been so sad to lose the stage like that".

Calmejane's team is one of 22 Pro-Continental outfits - effectively the second division of professional cycling.

The Team Sky-led peloton mopped up the remnants of the breakaway as Guillaume Martin took third at 50sec.

Kittel looked to be struggling in the final dash for the line as he failed to grab a wheel, but an 11th Tour stage win was secured in typically explosive fashion to mark a good day for the 29-year-old. "It's everything I dreamed of".

Other reports by TheDailyFarc

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