Arrived last winter at Intermarché-Circus-Wanty from AG2R Citroën, the Frenchman Lilian Calmejane asserts himself in his new colors and quite simply rediscovers the pleasure. Interview for Cyclisme magazine and Le Quotidien Du Sport.
How is the start of your adventure at Intermarché-Circus-Wanty going?
I finished a first block with the Classics Ardennes but, for a start, I retain the positive. When we drew up my schedule and my objectives, it went through a lot of World Tour races and in particular Paris-Nice. I fought with my weapons. I showed my best face being in the breakaways. Finishing 16th overall is anecdotal, but it shows that I had good legs. I am happy with my start to the season. I was able to help my teammates. This is the main without real training.
What did you come for when you signed for your new team this winter?
I am trusted. I have a calendar that offers me great races. We want to juggle other races to get results. I haven’t had the big result I was looking for yet, but I wasn’t far off like in Mallorca (4th in the Trofeo Serra de Tramuntana, Editor’s note) or the Tour de Romandie (7th in the 1st stage, Editor’s note). I worked hard to keep my level when I broke my wrist at the start of the season and I was able to continue. Now, a season is a long time. It will smile on me and I will necessarily have a good result.
Lilian Calmejane has the confidence of her team
Are all the promises there at Intermarché-Circus-Wanty to shine?
I was just waiting to be 100% involved in my work and to be happy to go racing, having the confidence of a group and a team. It’s the case. I can thrive. It is important. We do a difficult sport and if, in the race, we are not 100% fulfilled and happy, it is difficult to give our best for the team. It’s an environment where you earn little and it’s often the same people who do it. It’s hard to be recognized for your work behind the scenes.
I’m happy to feel it here. This was not necessarily the case in the past. Over the years, we manage to put things into perspective. Cycling remains a passion for me. Over the years, I know that at 30, it will pass quickly.
“Louis Meintjes can dream big on the Tour”
Are you happy to have joined a real collective?
When you have a solid team, but without big leaders who share the victories like Pogacar, Evenepoel, Roglic, Vingegaard, van Aert or even van der Poel, if you want to achieve results, you have to know how to give your all to also receive . We cannot articulate our race on a single map. We must listen to each other to optimize our chances and achieve the best possible results. We showed it at the start of the season. We are now preparing the sequel.
What do you expect from the rest of your season which must go through the Tour de France?
The selection has not yet been made. I am part of the group of suitors. I still have to prove that I have my place in this group. The preparation changes a bit. We will go to altitude to prepare. Afterwards, it will be the Dauphiné or the Tour de Suisse for the runners who will go on the Tour.
What will be the objectives?
We will aim for the stages and the general with in particular Louis Meintjes who can dream big. Last year, he was 7th in the Tour while being ill on the last lap. He is a world-class runner. It is an accomplishment. We have a team cut out for the stages with experienced riders, who have already won in the past. We also have Biniam Girmay coming back from injury. It is a talent that can compete. We have a nice Tour ahead of us. We are a little smaller than some, but we have the mindset to be ambitious. We are afraid of no one!