Arnaud Démare (FDJ.fr) is one of the big sprinters present at Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem, and his teammate Nacer Bouhanni’s victory in the opening stage of the Critérium International in Corsica on Saturday will surely motivate Démare to chase down a win himself.
Démare felt confident when talking to Cyclingnews on Sunday morning in sunny Deinze before taking the start in the Belgian one-day classic. “There are a lot of teams who want a bunch sprint. In the sprint there’s [John] Degenkolb and [André] Greipel. I’ve already beaten Greipel and with Degenkolb it’ll be mano a mano. I go for the win,” Démare said.
The Frenchman doesn’t fear the double ascent of the Kemmelberg and stated that being well positioned was the key to the climb. He also warned that the predicted bunch sprint wouldn’t come about in and of itself. In his two participations to date, Démare has ended up sprinting for a place outside the top 10.
“It can be a sprint of fifty riders but the two times I’ve been here there’s been a group of ten riders ahead. We have to make sure there’s no group ahead of the peloton. We put a lot of our cards on me but if a group of 10-15 guys goes, we have to be there too. We need to be attentive on the key points.”
After Milan-San Remo the French sprinter Démare didn’t race Dwars door Vlaanderen or the E3 Harelbeke. The dreadful weather conditions in the Italian classic took its toll on many riders and as a result Démare needed more time to recover.
“But we can put on sun cream today,” he smiled. “It’s a big difference compared to San Remo. We all suffered a lot in San Remo. I didn’t participate in E3 so now I’m more fresh for this one.”