STATION DES ROUSSES, France — Speeding ceaselessly on a thin mountain street more suited to goats than to riders, Lilian Calmejane won Stage 8 to the Rousses ski station in the Jura Mountains on Saturday, for his first triumph in his initially Tour de France.
Calmejane, riding for the French group Direct Energie, battled spasms in the wake of splitting without end on the last climb and held tight, tongue lolling, for triumph in just the second visit by the Tour to the Rousses. It was the second win at this Tour for a French rider, after Arnaud Demare’s in Stage 4.
The Tour pioneer, Chris Froome, completed in a gathering further back, holding the yellow shirt in front of a moment, far harder day of climbing, again in the Jura Mountains, on Sunday.
Froome’s day was not without occurrence: On a declining right-hand twist after the second of three eminent ascensions on the phase from Dole, the three-time Tour champion went straight into the roadside grass as opposed to cornering, yet figured out how to remain on his bicycle and rapidly recoup.
Calmejane held off Dutch rider Robert Gesink on the last climb and moving completion. Cramping from his exertion, Calmejane needed to moderate and ascend off his seat to extend his legs in the last segment and afterward gritted his teeth to the line.
Gesink, of the Netherlands’ Lotto-Jumbo group, rode in 37 seconds after Calmejane. French rider Guillaume Martin put third on the stage, 13 seconds more distant back.
“Winning alone like that is mind blowing,” said Calmejane, who additionally won a phase at his first Grand Tour, the Spanish Vuelta, a year ago. “It’s all that I longed for.”