French­man beats heat in stage win

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - SAM ED­MUND

IT WAS sup­posed to be the en­tree to Sun­day’s moun­tain­ous main course, but Stage 8 was more like a well- done roast.

French­man Lil­ian Calme­jane fought through late cramps to claim his first Tour de France stage win at ski vil­lage Sta­tion des Rousses - emerg­ing solo from a large break­away on the fi­nal climb.

But for all the talk of Team Sky giv­ing up the yel­low jersey to a non- threat­en­ing rider to ease pres­sure, Chris Froome’s team­mates kept the pace high to dis­cour­age ri­val at­tacks.

It meant that on an­other scorch­ing day where sec­tions of bi­tu­men melted in the sun, the pace was just as hot.

A 50- rider lead group that formed about half­way through the stage av­er­aged a painful 47kmh over the first 140km. Calme­jane needed to av­er­age 41.59kmh to win.

With the foot on the gas, Froome ran off the road on a de­scent and Team Sky team­mate Geraint Thomas crashed on the same cor­ner, but both were un­hurt.

Aussie Richie Porte, who re­mained fifth, 39 sec­onds be­hind Froome, pre­dicted fa­tigue would be a ma­jor fac­tor.

“That was a pretty wild, old stage. To­mor­row we’ll feel that one in the legs for sure,” Porte said.

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