FDJ boss Marc Madiot has responded to the news Arnaud Demare’s Milan-San Remo victory is under investigation after he was accused of taking a tow from a team car on the Cipressa climb. Earlier this week, Tinkoff rider Matteo Tosatto told Gazzetta dello Sport that he had provided the Italian Cycling Federation with written evidence as part of an investigation into Demare’s victory.
Madiot told CyclingPro.net that he is not worried about the possibility of Demare losing his title and that his rider has already proved his innocence.
“From the moment the commissioners of the UCI, the recognised arbiters, validate the outcome of the race, it is closed yes,” Madiot said defiantly. “The next day, Arnaud Demare kindly made his Strava data available - I say graciously because he did not have to - that demonstrated that he never rode at 80kph up the Cipressa as the so-called Tosatto seemed to say.”
Madiot added that had his rider been from another nation there would have been no fuss surrounding his victory.
“I think some people have trouble getting the idea that a French rider in a French team can win a monument like Milan-San Remo,” said Madiot. “I think if it were the same situation with a rider of a great foreign team, there would never have been all these stories.”
Demare was caught up in a crash, along with pre-race favourite Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge), near the foot of the Cipressa climb. Despite this, the Frenchman was able to make it back to the leading group and took out the title in a sprint ahead of Ben Swift (Team Sky).
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Talking to Italian website Tuttobiciweb, Tosatto and fellow Italian Eros Capecchi (Astana) both accused Demare of holding onto a team car on the Cipressa climb in order to get back to the bunch. Demare’s Strava data was immediately available online but was temporarily taken down before being made available again a few hours later.
Whether or not the accusations result in Demare losing his Milan-San Remo victory, it appears that they have done some damage in terms of FDJ’s and Demare’s position in the peloton. According to Madiot, his riders were intimidated during a stage of the Tour de Romandie. The Frenchman explained that his team were sat behind Movistar in the bunch when several riders told them they had no place to be there.
Madiot also talks about an incident between FDJ rider Benoît Vaugrenard and Tosatto at the Tour de Catalunya, where the Frenchman approached Tosatto and asked: “what do you have against the French?” Madiot says that it is now time for his team and other French riders to stand up for themselves.
“After all the revelations about doping during those years, to those that speak of a mechanical doping. Today I say stop. Now it's over. When a French rider is insulted, he should go to the commissaires and demand a penalty. The French have the right as others do, to do their work in good conditions,” said Madiot.
“It is for us to impose ourselves and to take our place. It's over, the days when French teams were not allowed to go in the breakaways as it was ten years ago. And gone are the days where we have to look down.”