Direct Énergie may have a surprise in store for the cobbled classics, with Lilian Calmejane considering participation in the races for the first time this season.
In an interview published on the team’s Youtube account, the 26-year-old cited Roubaix and Flanders winner Niki Terpstra joining the team as his inspiration.
“I think it’s the right moment,” Calmejane said. “We have a team that’s well-suited to those races, and we have a guy in Niki Terpstra who can be a super teacher. That’s one option.
“The other option is that I rest up and, if we’re lucky enough to get an invite, do Pais Vasco in favour of preparing optimally for the Ardennes Classics – above all Liège-Bastogne-Liège. That’s the question mark at the moment.”
Calmejane has never raced the cobbled classics before, so any potential foray would likely be more of a learning experience and supporting Terpstra. The Frenchman raced Tro-Bro Léon in 2016, but the likes of Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders are totally different beasts.
“The cobbled classics are what cycling is all about – they’re truly mythical. They’re races where a lot can happen – honest races, races for workers. I think that term is very much appropriate.
“I like to jostle for position, to be at the front of the race, so I think that, in good condition, they are races that can suit me.
“For sure it’s too pretentious and complicated to say that I’m going to go and target a big result, if I do go this year, but I think they’re races where I can express myself well.”
Calmejane will start his season in early February at the GP la Marseillaise, racing exclusively in France – including Paris-Nice – until Milan-San Remo and then, perhaps, the cobbled classics.