In 2016, the Frenchman was the unlikely winner in Sanremo, unleashing his powerful sprint to claim the biggest victory of his career over Ben Swift and Jurgen Roelandts. He backed up that result with a sixth place in 2017 and third last season behind Caleb Ewan and the impressive solo victory from Vincenzo Nibali.
This season, Démare has yet to climb onto the highest step of a podium, having missed out on the early semi-Classics with the flu before recovering to race Paris-Nice. He narrowly missed out on a win on stage 6 to Brignoles when he jumped a bit too soon into a headwind and was overtaken by Sam Bennett (Bora-Hansgrohe) .
Despite going into Milan-San Remo winless, Démare says he gained condition and confidence during Paris-Nice.
"I showed satisfying things on the bike and, thanks to the race conditions, the good weather drew less from our reserves compared to other years. I was able to do long and hard training at home to work on my endurance," Démare said in a press release.
Groupama-FDJ will have a number of key riders around Démare for the La Primavera, with new recruit Stefan Küng making his debut in the race, along with experienced one-day racers Anthony Roux, Matthieu Ladagnous, Ignatas Konovalovas, Olivier Le Gac and Jacopo Guarnieri.
Démare is ready to tackle his first major objective of the season and knows that it suits his capabilities, having already won it and finished on the podium.
"I know it is a race I'm never far off winning and someday, I will win again, for sure," Démare says. "This being said, this race, you have to go get it. It is a race where you give everything you have, where you go deep into yourself. Every race is great to win but this one has something special.
"You are transferred in a whole new world of endurance. The smooth but long intensity of the race's rhythm enables me to be there in the final. I feel like I have what it takes for this race. I look forward to being there on Saturday morning. This day has something mythical. The riders, 100 years ago, were already riding it. It's a bit of our sports history."
Groupama-FDJ for Milan-San Remo: Arnaud Démare, Jacopo Guarnieri, Ignatas Konovalovas, Stefan Küng, Matthieu Ladagnous, Olivier Le Gac, Anthony Roux.