Before the race many pointed to Kittel's Etixx-QuickStep as the strongest sprint team in the race, yet it was Démare's FDJ that took command on stage 2. Despite being in the best possible position on the wheel of his lead-out man, the Milan-San Remo winner committed what he saw as an "error" by waiting too long to launch his sprint, with Kittel getting the jump and going on to win convincingly.
"I think the lead out was good – the team worked really well – but I lacked a little juice in the sprint and I waited too long," Démare told Cyclingnews and a French broadcaster beyond the finish line in Nijmegem.
"He caught me by surprise. He came up that much faster from behind, and he had much more momentum. There was a fraction of a second when I was going slightly under full-gas, not accelerating fast enough, wanting to wait. Then he kicked, and I went, but it was already too late.
"It was a small error due to a lack of confidence maybe. It knocked the wind out of my sails but I can't be too unhappy."
Démare can take confidence into tomorrow's similarly flat stage from Nijmegem to Arnhem – and indeed into the other five sprint stages in this Giro – but Kittel looks dominant. The German spoke of how the slight downhill stretch on stage 2 – and the resulting high-speed nature of the sprint – gave him an advantage, and the parcours on Sunday is of a similar nature.
Démare, though, reckons he can topple the 12-time Grand Tour stage winner, and won't be letting him get the jump again.
"We already studied the final of tomorrow's stage the day before yesterday, like we did for this stage. It's the same sort of style so I think it'll unfold just the same. So we'll do the same thing again, we've just got to try to gain one place," Démare said.
"Anticipation is what I must do. Today I was very happy with my team, but not necessarily with my sprint, so now it's time for me to take it up and it's up to me to lead the sprints now."
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