Tour de France: More disappointment for empty-handed Demare

Frenchman blames GC riders for chaotic finales

The disappointment was clear as Arnaud Démare arrived back at the Groupama-FDJ bus in Amiens after placing fifth on stage 8 of the Tour de France.

"As you can see, there are a lot of you here to cover my defeats every day," the Frenchman said to the semi-circular scrum of television cameras and microphones. "I'm obviously very disappointed."

The reasons were numerous. He was on home turf, Amiens is situated just over 50 kilometres from his hometown of Beauvais. It was also Bastille Day, a day of national celebration when everyone is on the lookout for a home winner.

Most of all, though, it was the last bunch sprint of a first week rich in opportunities, and Démare must now head into the mountains empty-handed.

"It was pretty chaotic, even if I knew the finish like the back of my hand," Démare said of the run-in to Amiens, where his teammates were on the front for a while.

"I knew the corners were tight, and it was a mess. My teammates were up front, but then I don't know where they went. With around two kilometres to go, it got really hectic.

"I'm disappointed because this was the last chance for a sprint from the first week. There is one next week and two in the last week, but all the big chances were this week. But I haven't had the 'feeling' these last days. It's a shame."

Démare blamed some of the chaos on the general classification riders, who, fearful of losing time in a crash or split, have taken to rubbing shoulders with the lead-out trains in the closing kilometres. Démare, who is not the first to voice such complaints, feels that in trying to remove themselves from danger, those riders are actually creating it for everyone else.

"When you see that I'm forced to play elbows with Froome three kilometres from the line… and yesterday it was Quintana.

"Tomorrow it will be the same thing," he added, referring to the cobbled stage to Roubaix. "If they want to end up in a heap."

Démare is one of the more versatile sprinters and is a decent Classics rider in his own right. He has made a target of the spring's one-day races and finished 6th at Paris-Roubaix last year. Depending on the race situation, he could still have a chance tomorrow.

However, he was rather pessimistic about the terrain in front of him, though he did to fight all the way to Paris and the last chance saloon on the final day.

"Until the Champs Elysées are behind us, there's still hope."

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