Amid allegations from professional cyclists Matteo Tosatto (Tinkoff) and Eros Capecchi (Astana) that Arnaud Démare took a tow from the team car on the Cipressa before winning Milan-San Remo, a Dutch editor for NOS.nl Martijn Hendriks claims to have captured data from the FDJ rider's Strava file before it was suddenly deleted.
- Update: Demare's file was later re-uploaded Milan-San Remo.
Démare was involved in a crash together with Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) before the ascent of the Cipressa, and says he was about to throw in the towel before his directeur sportif came and encouraged him to chase along with Matthews and the others involved in the crash.
According to Hendriks he was stopped for about 20-25 seconds before getting going again. Four minutes later the peloton started the ascent of the Cipressa, and they climbed for just over 10 minutes. The crash occurred with 30km to go, while the climb of the Cipressa begins with 27.1km to go.
Hendriks says that the data showed that while GIovanni Visconti (Movistar) was flat out on the attack on a 1700m long section of the climb, Démare actually climbed the same section seven seconds quicker, and went 4kph faster than the peloton in pursuit.
The file data showed that Démare achieved the 'king of the mountain' on that section of the Cipressa by seven seconds on Visconti.
Tossato claimed to La Gazzetta dello Sport, "Demare was off the back before the Cipressa. Then on the climb he passed us going twice our speed. I didn't see if he was on the car window or with a (sticky) bottle. Of course he was strong in the sprint but without that tow he would never have made it to contest the sprint. I’ve never seen a thing like that done so shamelessly."
The race judge Herve Borcque heard the allegations but said in the absence of video or photographic proof that Démare illegally took a tow, he could take no action.
Over the course of a 10km pursuit from the site of the crash and the top of the Cipressa, given the times of the peloton claimed in Hendriks' tweets, Démare would have had to have ridden an average of 1.4kph quicker than the peloton by Cyclingnews' calculations.
Démare reed op een stuk van Cipressa 2.33. Visconti in aanval: 2.40. De rest: bijna 20 sec langzamer. pic.twitter.com/VfTRsiHZTa— Martijn Hendriks (@hendriksmj) March 20, 2016