Having abandoned the Giro d'Italia on Saturday's mountain stage 14 to Cervinia, FDJ-Big Mat's Arnaud Démare finished his first Grand Tour after two weeks of racing. At 20 years of age, the French sprinter was happy to have stayed on the race for that long, but at the same time disappointed with his performances in the sprint stages where his best placing was fourth on stage 3 in Horsens, Denmark.
"I'm not particularly happy with the outcome of my Giro," Démare wrote on his race blog on the L'Equipe website. "I didn't get the feeling to have done a single sprint for my true worth. I'm leaving this Giro feeling frustrated because I wasn't able to take advantage of all my capabilities. I'm a bit sad to leave like this, and I feel bad for my teammates who worked so hard for me during these two weeks."
The 2011 U23 world champion had a very successful start into this season, winning four races, and did not expect to race the Giro for that long. "I expected to suffer on this Giro because it's the first time I rode a race longer than one week, but I didn't think I'd come this far. Two weeks of racing is a lot for me but it should have left me the time to seize some opportunities. It's a pity.
"I realise only now that my season start was very lucky. I didn't really realize that winning four races during my first year amongst the pros had that much value. The Giro taught me this."
Still, Démare couldn't help himself from feeling frustrated. "When your legs hurt on the finish line you can't blame yourself, but I don't want to be satisfied with [top ten placings]. Everybody says that I'm young, that I have time and that I shouldn't shoot ahead. But I don't care about my age, I race to win. Why shouldn't I be ambitious at 20 years? I don't want to hear that sort of argument," he insisted.
Meanwhile, Démare has received some criticism regarding his attitude, notably from former rider Cyrille Guimard. "Arnaud Démare has all the necessary capacities to get to the highest level, but he still has a lot to learn," the directeur sportif told RMC Radio. "If you accept to hear things that hurt you a little, you can keep your feet on the ground and continue to work. But I've seen riders as talented as Démare completely miss their career. When you're 20 years old, you don't have mental or intellectual maturity and the sources of motivation or lack of motivation are enormous. It's only at about 23 years that you can say whether he's doing to have a great career."