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"I want to cry. But I'm going to do so in the bus. I had good legs today andI still had William Bonnet and Yoann Offredo to help me when I had that puncture when the race entered its decisive phase."

Photo: Muscat Municipality/Paumer/B.Bade

ARNAUD DEMARE

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RONDE VAN VLAANDEREN

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06.04.2015 @ 13:21 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

"We need to go to Lourdes..." Those words by sports director Martial Gayant summarized the bad luck that marred FDJ in the Ronde van Vlaanderen, two weeks after Arnaud Demare had crashed in Milan-Sanremo. The French champion won the sprint for 23rd but that was not the expected outcome for manager Marc Madiot who desribed the terrible day.

 

"The trouble began before the halfway point when we tried not to hit Jimmy Engoulvent (Europcar) who tried to rejoin the pack. The right front wheel of the car hit a hole and we suffered a puncture. [Sports director] Fred Guesdon quickly got out to change the tire but it was a new car and there was no key to loosen the bolts. Finally, we had service from a guy from the Lotto-Soudal team. After having changed the wheel, we returned to the peloton with a Belgian police motorbike who made us drive at 150 km/h. By the time we hit the race, we were called to assist Sebastien Chavanel. When we stopped behind him, we were hit by a neutral service car. In a race like Flanders, it can happen but luckily we had our seatbelts. He made us jump twenty meters and we collided with Seb. Luckily, he is not injured."

 

Chavanel, complaining of pain in his thigh, will be checked on Monday.

 

While Madiot and Guesdon had other things on their mind, the race went on and they managed to get back in time for the finale.

 

"We came to the foot of Koppenberg and finally we expected that we would be able to devote oursevles to the race," continued Madiot. "There were still five riders from the team, but Mattieu Landagnous fell in a corner. Then Arnaud punctured. William Bonnet gave him his wheel but he never got back to the head of the race. Our clover had three leaves today, not four."

 

A few minutes after crossing the finish line, Arnaud Démare did nothing to hide his frustration.

 

"I want to cry," he said. "But I'm going to do so in the bus. I had good legs today andI still had William Bonnet and Yoann Offredo to help me when I had that puncture when the race entered its decisive phase. 

 

"I then changed my bike twice, and I did no longer have the power to follow the attacks when I could have been in the front. I am sad because we have trained for this race for a long time. My morale is low but I'm not going to drink a beer to forget about it because I don't like it. I know that there is Paris-Roubaix on Sunday, but I do not think about it. Not now."

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