Arnaud Démare dreamed of a fourth French Champion title among the Elites but it will not be for this year. Trapped by a strong group that came out on the last lap, the Picard had to settle for an anecdotal place of honor by settling the first peloton (see ranking). “I am obviously disappointed. When it came out, no one from the team was able to go. Then we had no choice but to drive to try to get in but we couldn’t do it, so here we go…”he blows hot for DirectVeloscarred and frustrated.
Unsurprisingly, the Groupama-FDJ formation played 100% the card of its sprinter on this circuit of Cholet which, on paper and despite the scenario of the Amateur then Women’s events, could (should?) be suitable for road sprinters. “I knew it was going to be very punchy but I still had to wait, stay with the sprinters. So when things changed two laps from the finish with Rémi Cavagna or Adrien Petit, I preferred to wait. I’m used to these kinds of situations. They were counting on me. I was the best card on the team. Besides, I won the peloton sprint, but it would have taken “a group”…”.
During the last lap of the circuit, the best sprinter of the last Tour of Italy suffered a slow puncture. “I was scared in the turns. I was afraid of going crazy. I missed a few watts but anyway I couldn’t have kept up with the six”. he admits, while once again regretting this racing scenario. “We should have gone back”. But in the final, his last teammates simply didn’t have the legs to bring the pack back to the front of the race. “We know it is more and more open. We were thirteen at the start. We had the whole race to master. We paid for our efforts in the end”.