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"This year, with a stronger roster and a team that invests more, I can feel the momentum around the sprints."

Photo: A.S.O.




20.12.2016 @ 16:48 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

There is sometimes no need to leave a team to take a new step. In view of the 2017 season, FDJ has tried strengthen the group around its star sprinter and leader for the classics, Arnaud Démare. 


The first winner of Milan-San Remo since Laurent Jalabert already has a train with Mickaël Delage, Ignatas Konovalovas and Marc Sarreau and will now have two additional cards, Italians Davide Cimolai and Jacopo Guarnieri, who have been recruited to support him. This strong sign of trust by the management of the team illustrates the central place that Demare, like Thibaut Pinot, has in the French structure. 


"This year, with a stronger roster and a team that invests more, I can feel the momentum around the sprints,” he told L'Equipe. “Before, we were focused on mountains, mountains ... I discovered them [Guarnieri and Cimolai]. But not that much, actually. I saw them riding in the peloton."  


Cimolai took a sprint victory in Paris-Nice in 2015 while Guarnieri has been the key lead-out man for  rival Alexander Kristoff. From now on, it is Demare who will be able to take advantage of their qualities, and of a brand new bike optimized for the sprint. 


"It is a mark of confidence for the sprint project,” he added. “I enter my best years. The time of discovery is over. What is needed now is to win. I no longer progress in explosiveness, but in resistance. I can be explosive at the end of a race when I was exhausted before. I could not express my qualities.”


All that remains is to form the train and to find the place that everyone will occupy. It will be necessary to fine-tune the adjustments during the year and to present themselves at the Tour de France with the best possible automatism. 


"I'll have more riders around me,” said Démare who benefits from the Giro project for Thibaut Pinot who will be at the Tour with a free role. “Before, I had two lead-out men when the others had five. If I have four, it's great."   


With his passion for the Classics, the former U23 world champion does not forget the spring period and Paris-Roubaix, his favorite race which continues to elude him. 


"This is THE race that makes me excited,” he said. “I do not know if I have it in me, but I know that Paris-Roubaix is ​​within my reach although I have not had much luck at this event since I turned pro. I hope to win it one day. When I see how they talk about Milan-San Remo, I do not even imagine what it would feel like…”



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