Venga, Venga, Frenchie!
Another unexpected winner at the Helta Skelta Vuelta. Stage four saw young Frenchman Lilian Calmejane take first first pro win in his first grand tour.
The Direct Energie rider turned pro last year and until today’s win on the finishing climb of Alto Mirador de Veixia. his only resume hit was an 8th in the Tour de Med.
A mucho grande break of sixteen riders went up the road and for a while it was the Alex Dumont show, as the young gun for AG2R dangled off the front as they hit the second category climb to the line.
However once Cnalmejaune jumped at about nine kilometers it was game over. A game Pierre Rolland (Cannondale-Drapac) tried to close the gap and game within 20 seconds before fading back.
Then it was the turn of Darwin Atapuma (BMC) to try and catch Calmejane and also grand the red jersey of race leader. While he failed to pull back the Frenchman, he out-sprinted Ben King (Cannondale-Drapac) for second, bonus seconds and the race lead.
Not a bad result for a guy who isn’t a serious mountain man. “I’m not really a good, good climber, but when the climb is between 10 and 30 minutes, I’m ok. This is my first Vuelta, my first Grand Tour. The goal was to win a stage. And now everything else is a bonus. I feel very good.”
While Calmejane feels tres bon, Darwin Atapuma is thrilled. The Colombian jumped into the red jersey — which is more exciting than his stage win in the Tour de Suisse and his recent overall in the recent climb-heavy Tour of Utah.
Meanwhile it was a relatively quiet day for the GC rivals in the Vuelta a España. Chris Froome, Esteban Chavez, the tag team of Nairo Quintana and Alejandro Valverde and pitbull Andrew Tolansky all finished together two minutes behind Atapuma.
There was a point near the end where it appeared that Contador might be feeling a bit frisky. His body language had all the appearances of a man ready to jump and steal a few seconds back. However, nada. Alberto remains two minutes behind Froome — which is never a good thing in a grand tour.
Chapeau Calmejane, welcome to Spain.