For Lilian Calmejane, the Dijon-Prenois (Côte d’Or) racing circuit was ideally placed on the Christmas road between the Tarn, where he lives, and the Doubs, where his in-laws reside. “I had no idea at all that there was this cyclo-cross today (Wednesday). During the team’s internship, Nans (Peters) told me about it. So I left early this morning to come and scrub my legs on a cyclo-cross after seven hours on the road ”, he smiles at the microphone of DirectVelo.
On a “Fun and very rolling circuit”, the AG2R Citroën Team rider took 4th place in an event won by Sandy Dujardin (see classification). On this occasion, he was competing in his fourth and last cyclo-cross of the season. “I try to do it every year, he recalls. I love it, it’s not a punishment, nor a simple training. I like to accompany the race and play in front even if I do not take any risks. I’m doing this to prepare the road and above all to make myself happy ”. But with a strong desire to perform. “There is a little competitive spirit that pushes you to hurt yourself. There is adversity, we always hurt ourselves more in a race than alone ”, says the winner of the cyclo-cross of Crouchaux à Coulounieix-Chamiers (Dordogne), last Sunday.
“STARTING FROM THE LAST LINE, IT IS COMPLICATED”
But unlike last season, Lilian Calmejane will not line up at the start of the French Championship. “The move is complicated”, he says. The internship of his team will indeed begin two days before the Championship played in Liévin (Pas-de-Calais). “It made me miss a part knowing that I am not a rider like Clément (Venturini) either. It’s complicated because without the UCI points, you start in the last positions, he recalls. I was 10th in the Championship in January, it’s nice but when you prepare the road and you are in good shape, you hope to do better. And starting from the last row, it’s complicated ”.
Lilian Calmejane is confident for the next road season, although not everything was rosy for his first year at AG2R Citroën. “AT the end of my career, of course, I won’t say that 2021 has been a good year. The results cannot be good, but we have to look at the reasons ”. He was removed from the pelotons after a fall at the Tour de la Provence and then due to a domestic accident at the end of March. “The broken foot, in itself, is not very serious but I was in a cast for five weeks, and it weighed me down for three months. I raised my head on the Tour of Spain at the end of the season (he notably finished 6th and 9th on stages, Editor’s note). LThe downside is that I did not have a victory ”. But the essential is elsewhere. “I regained my level. It bodes well for the future, and that is the most important ”.