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by Shane Stokes
May 11, 2017
In today’s edition of the Daily News Digest: Gaviria takes field sprint in Messina as Quick-Step Floors monopolizes podium; Démare bounces back to win stage two of the Four Days of Dunkirk; Knee surgery means Alaphilippe will miss 2017 Tour de France; Bennett third, but gains ‘so much confidence’; Race leader Jungels looks ahead after first day in pink; Fahlin and strong Wiggle High5 lineup psyched for Amgen Tour of California; Three year jail sentence for pregnant motorist who rammed cyclist into a tree; Lilian Calmejane: French cycling’s next big thing; Brian Cookson: ‘Professional sportspeople and teams will always push any rule to the very limit’; Video: André Greipel – a portrait of the Gorilla; Video: A catch-up with Laurens Ten Dam after his crash on Giro d’Italia stage 4; Video: This is the life of Team Sunweb’s mechanics at the Giro d’Italia; Video: Giro d’Italia Backstage Pass – Stage 4 post-race; Video: Giro d’Italia Backstage Pass – Stage 5 pre-race
Think of the 2017 season thus far and three names probably spring to mind: Greg Van Avermaet, who won four cobbled classics, including Paris-Roubaix; Philippe Gilbert, winner of the Ronde Van Vlaanderen and Amstel Gold Race; and Alejandro Valverde, who already has 11 wins, including La Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
This trio of superstars have dominated the cycling consciousness over the past few months, racking up wins at the biggest races of the year.
But look beyond the WorldTour powerhouses and you’ll find other, less-heralded names succeeding. One of these men is Lilian Calmejane, Direct Énergie’s second-year pro, a graduate from the team’s Vendée U Under-23 team.
The man from Albi in southern France has taken three stage-race victories already this year, more than any other pro rider apart from Valverde (who also has three).
First up came February’s Étoile de Besseges, the five-day race in the Occitanie region of south France, the nearest Calmejane has to a “home race.” There he won the third stage before holding off Lotto-Soudal’s Tony Gallopin in the final time trial to take the overall title by five seconds.
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