Demare opts for Giro d'Italia instead of Tour de France
FDJ sprinter says he has more chance of winning in Italy with teammates to support him
FDJ sprinter Arnaud Démare has revealed that he is going to miss this year’s Tour de France and will focus instead on the Giro d’Italia.
The Frenchman believes he has more chance of tasting success in Italy’s national tour despite a strong sprint presence set to be headed by Marcel Kittel and André Greipel.
Speaking to L’Équipe during his team’s ongoing training camp in Calpe, Spain, Démare said he made the decision following a disappointing 2015 season in terms of victories. The 24-year-old Frenchman claimed just two wins after hitting double figures in the two previous seasons.
“I had good cards to play but I couldn’t put them on the table,” Démare said of his 2015 campaign, adding that there is little point in heading back to the Tour when FDJ are committed to backing Thibaut Pinot’s general classification ambitions.
“Rather than doing the Tour, I will go to the Giro with a team built around me. I’ve tried the Tour twice and I’ve lost out there twice,” explained Démare, who failed to win a stage in his national tour in 2014 and 2015.
“I’ve got no desire to go back there to get another kicking. If you don’t have a team designed to put a sprinter in the best possible position, like Lotto who have eight riders lined out to ensure that André Greipel can save his energy before making his effort, it’s not possible to win. That isn’t likely to happen on this team as its focus is on the general classification with Thibaut,” said Démare.
The Frenchman said he has been training hard over the winter with the aim of winning from the off when the European season gets under way. “I am more demanding of my teammates and myself," Démare admitted. "I’ve told them: ‘At Bessèges, we all need to be ready.’”
Bolstered by his coach, Julien Pinot, who has told Démare he did progress in 2015 even though his results might suggest otherwise, the FDJ rider says he has become obsessed with seeing that advance translate into victories.
“I want to be ahead of the competition,” he said. “2014 was [Alexander] Kristoff’s season, 2015 was [John] Degenkolb’s. I don’t know when it will happen, but I will have a season like that too,” Démare stated.
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Peter Cossins has written about professional cycling since 1993 and is a contributing editor to Procycling. He is the author of The Monuments: The Grit and the Glory of Cycling's Greatest One-Day Races (Bloomsbury, March 2014) and has translated Christophe Bassons' autobiography, A Clean Break (Bloomsbury, July 2014).