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"What a relief! I'm happy but that was already so yesterday after my second place I think that's it, here we go."

Photo: A.S.O.

ARNAUD DEMARE

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BELGIUM TOUR

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GROUPAMA-FDJ

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29.05.2015 @ 21:26 Posted by Emil Axelgaard

The FDJ team had a great moment of joy in Herzele today. Arnaud Demare finally took his first victory in 2015 in stage 3 of the Tour of Belgium when he beat Tom Boonen (Quick Step-Etixx) and Jürgen Roelandts (Lotto-Soudal) in a reduced bunch sprint.

 

"What a relief! I'm happy but that was already so yesterday after my second place I think that's it, here we go," he said. "Today was a beautiful stage with cobblestones and hills. At one point, it was hectic. We had attacks in all directions 70 kilometers from the finish. We could not let dangerous riders from teams like Lotto, BMC or Etixx-Quick Step go. My teammates controlled it well. 

 

"The peloton exploded in the last lap, we were 25 and I was alone but I focused on Boonen's team. Two kilometers from the finish, I was on his wheel. TheLotto took the lead in the last kilometer but I started my sprint at the right time. I went, I won with a bike length in a slightly false flat finale. Yesterday was the birthday of my girlfriend but I do not think she is frustrated that I give her this gift one day too late.

 

"This victory finally launches my season. In the Tours of Qatar and Oman, the conditions were special and it can happen. In Paris-Nice, I finished second in a stage behind Greipel and then I got sick. The classics were crappy and the Tour de Picardie, which was my comeback race, I was not riding fast enough. Everyone was fresh, it was hectic and this is not what I prefer.

 

"Yesterday, in the first stage, my teammates did a great job and it proved that they still have confidence in me. The staff were never annoyed and I must say that [manager] Marc Madiot was great for me in that period. He never made me feel that he had lost confidence in me. I had not won yet this season, but it was not the legs, rather a lack of success. The classics were really frustrating and frustration is the worst thing for a rider.

 

"Even if tomorrow's stage is hard, it is still possible. On Sunday the climbs will be too hard for me but the main goal was achieved today. I'm really happy to have won, it's all good before the Tour de Suisse, the championship of France and the Tour de France. It's a big weight off my shoulder."

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