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Demare fires Paris-Nice warning shot ahead of Milan-San Remo

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Arnaud Demare (FDJ) on the stage 1 podium at Paris-Nice

Arnaud Demare (FDJ) on the stage 1 podium at Paris-Nice (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Arnaud Demare wins stage 1 at Paris-Nice ahead of Julian Alaphilippe

Arnaud Demare wins stage 1 at Paris-Nice ahead of Julian Alaphilippe (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)
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Arnaud Demare (FDJ) in yellow on the stage 1 podium at Paris-Nice

Arnaud Demare (FDJ) in yellow on the stage 1 podium at Paris-Nice (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Arnaud Demare (FDJ) on the stage 1 podium at Paris-Nice

Arnaud Demare (FDJ) on the stage 1 podium at Paris-Nice (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)
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Arnuad Demare wins the opening stage of 2017 Paris-Nice

Arnuad Demare wins the opening stage of 2017 Paris-Nice (Image credit: Courtesy of Polartec-Kometa)

Stage 1 of Paris-Nice was supposed to be a run-of-the-mill sprint stage with a two-loop circuit culminating in a match up between some of the best sprinters on the planet.

What ensued was far better, with 3 hours, 22 minutes and 43 seconds of bike racing at it's best, and Arnaud Demare coming away with a worthy stage win and the first leader's yellow jersey in this year's race.

"The conditions were tough and we were flat out with the echelons. I expected attacks from Julian Alaphilippe, Philippe Gilbert and Tony Gallopin, so I tried to follow. The climb at the end wasn't too long and that helped. I think there was general fatigue out there, and I had fantastic support out there with guys around me in the break. It's better than being alone and it helps both physically and psychologically.