Tinkoff’s Matteo Tosatto has revealed he has given written evidence to the Italian Cycling Federation as part of an investigation into claims that Arnaud Demare (FDJ) took a tow from a team car following a crash before going on to win this year’s Milan-San Remo.
Tosatto is in action at the Giro d’Italia –riding the 33rd Grand Tour of his long career as a domestique, as is Demare, who finished second behind Marcel Kittel (Etixx-Quickstep) in the Giro d’Italia sprint in Nijmegen. As La Gazzetta dello Sport revealed, the Tinkoff and FDJ buses were parked facing each other but relations between the two teams are tense after the polemic following the first Classic of the season.
Immediately after Milan-San Remo, Tosatto pointed the finger at the Frenchman and his team, telling 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."
His accusations were confirmed by fellow Italian Eros Capecchi (Astana), who said: "I was on Tosatto's wheel and saw it very clearly. Demare was hanging onto the right of the team car. It’s disgusting!"
The accusation soured Demare’s victory but the French sprinter denied any wrong doing and claimed his power data proved his case.
The polemic seemed to be closed but La Gazzetta dello Sport spoke to Tosatto on Saturday, who revealed news of the Italian Federation investigation. It is not know if the investigation has reached a conclusion or if Demare will be questioned when he travels to Italy with the Giro d’Italia.
"I’m not interested in fuelling the polemic any further, I’ve nothing personal against him and he’s definitely a great rider," Tosatto said.
"But I’ve no regrets about what I said because I saw it. I also repeated it to the Italian Cycling Federation investigators who contacted me for an explanation. I didn’t speak to them in person but sent them some emails."
Tosatto revealed that some FDJ riders had attacked him for speaking out.
"I was hurt because after Milan-San Remo I rode the Volta a Catalunya and there were some of Demare’s teammates in my hotel and they had a go at me. But I’ve no regrets and nothing to be ashamed about, I know I can hold my head high," the Italian said.
La Gazzetta dello Sport also asked FDJ team manager Marc Madiot for a reaction but he suggested the case was closed. Demare followed a similar line.
"I’ve already spoken about it and there’s nothing else to say. I want to focus on the Giro d’Italia," Demare told the Italian sports newspaper. "I’ve preferred to target the Giro this year because we’ve got Thibaut Pinot for the Tour and the team will be for him. I’ve got more chances for myself here at the Giro."