French winner Calzati: "I'll be supporting Italy"
The French get their second stage winner at this year’s Tour – then find out he’ll be supporting Ita
PIC BY TDWSPORT.COM
With three km to go, and with almost two minutes on the two chasers, Sunday’s stage winner between Saint-Meen-le-Grand and Lorient, Sylvain Calzati, high-fived his Ag2r team manager Vincent Lavenu and blew kisses at the crowd. They had their winner – France’s second at this year’s race – and Calzati was going to enjoy it.
As he crossed the finish line, two minutes ahead of the chasers, he took a photo out of his jersey pocket and kissed it.
“It was of my wife and two-year-old daughter. I always carry the photo with me for good luck, and was thinking about them all the time,” an emotional Calzati told reporters after he crossed the line.
“I’m thrilled for him – he worked really hard, and this is on top of riding the Tour of Romandy, the Giro d’Italia, the Tour of Switzerland, and now the Tour de France all in a row,” his team manager Lavenu smiled, pointing out, too, that it was the first time that a breakaway has succeeded in this year’s race.
“I’d already talked to Vincent through the earpiece and knew there was a hill there,” Calzati said, referring to the point, 32km from the finish, where he attacked his five breakaway companions. “It was just a feeling I had. I felt fresh, and thought I could hold it all the way to the finish.
“I saw lots of blue Ag2r jerseys at the side of the road, and I’d like to thank everyone for their great support,” Calzati smiled. But little did those fans know there was a sting in the tail to follow ‘their’ victory.
In the post-race press conference, Calzati was asked if his win was an omen for the French beating Italy in the evening’s World Cup final. “People will be disappointed to hear this,” the 27 year old laughed nervously, “but I’ll be supporting Italy.”
Maybe the roadside fans wouldn’t have cheered quite as loud if they’d known their new hero’s dad was Italian.