Demare hits back at Milan-San Remo tow allegations

Milan-San Remo winner Arnaud Démare hit back at the critics that claimed he took a tow from his team car on the Cipressa while chasing back from a crash, saying he has nothing to be sorry for.

"I have done nothing wrong," he said to L'Equipe. "There are judges in cycling. If I had done something forbidden, I would have been disqualified. Because [Michael] Matthews didn't raise his arms in victory like me, we don't care if he took shelter in the caravan. It's part of cycling and always has been: we profit from the draft of the cars. They block the wind. It is not forbidden."

Both Démare and his FDJ directeur sportif Frédéric Guesdon denied allegations from Matteo Tossato (Tinkoff) and Eros Capecchi (Astana) that after his crash with 30km to go, the FDJ car helped tow the eventual race winner back to the peloton on the Cipressa.

Sporza reports that a race official saw Démare still chasing in the cars at the top of the Cipressa, and the data on his Strava file appears to back up this fact.

"I've seen this small polemic," Démare said in and interview on Stade 2. "There really are some bad losers in every sport! I crashed and I had the commissaire's motor with me. If I'd cheated, I'd have been penalised. Nibali was heavily sanctioned during the last Vuelta, so I wouldn't have taken the risk of losing the biggest race of my career.

"This polemic is fair enough. It's natural that they don't like seeing a 24 year-old French rider winning their race."

Démare temporarily deleted his data file from Strava, but it was restored later on Sunday, and a side-by-side comparison shows he caught back to the peloton between the end of the Cipressa descent and the start of the Poggio. There are no apparent spikes in speed, but Démare rides across a gap of about 40 seconds over the course of the Cipressa ascent and descent, finally making contact just before the start of the Poggio. No power data is displayed.

"I wasn't obliged to justify things, but I put my data on Strava. You can see that I didn't touch 80km/h as has been said. That should shut everyone up and I'm going to be fully enjoy my victory which I won with my own legs."

The race officials have heard the allegations but decided that in the absence of video or photographic evidence that shows Demare being illegally assisted by his team car they would take no action.

"I sense a little jealousy from some of our rivals after our third place in the team time trial at Tirreno," Démare said to L'Equipe. "I also won a stage at Paris-Nice, as did Nacer Bouhanni.

"This story won't spoil my moment of pleasure."

Gap analysis between Demare (orange), Greg Van Avermaet (purple), Michal Kwiatkowski (green) and Daniel Oss (blue)

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