French champion Arnaud Démare (FDJ) finally entered his home country in the blue-white-red national jersey during stage 3 of the Tour de France, but the 25-year-old sprinter seemed without a chance for the victory on the uphill finish of the Côte des Religieuses in Longwy.
The win indeed turned out to be impossible, but Démare did impress with a strong performance and a sixth place on the line. Démare is building confidence and hopes to claim the win on the sprinter's during stage 4 on Tuesday.
"It'll work out. If it's not tomorrow it'll be for the day after. Otherwise I'll keep trying until the Champs [Elysées] to get the win," Démare said while warming down in front of the team bus.
"It's a technical finish, though, and if I'm well-positioned I'll try to score points for the green jersey," he said at the time.
With his sixth place at the finish line and a 12th place in the intermediate sprint, Démare collected 19 points on stage 3, while stage winner Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) scored 36 points on the day. The French sprinter is now in second place in the points classification with 57, trailing Marcel Kittel (Quick-Step Floors) by nine points; Sagan is third with 50 points.
"Everything that's won is won," Démare said. "Having a bit a of an advantage on the others is good."
"At 10 kilometres from the finish, Konovalovas punctured. Mickaël Delage is out due to a crash [big crash of stage 2, ed.]. That's a few guys less. In the final we adapted well with the boys so that's good. Yesterday, I believed in my chances. Right now, I believe in my chances even more. If Mickaël is good tomorrow - I don't want to put pressure on him - then we've got everybody in front and that's an advantage," Démare said.
"Tomorrow, it'll be a sprint. Everyday we're watching a video of the next stage in the hotel. It'll be a sprint. I know there'll be a few more corners than in Liège but I haven't studied it in detail just yet. It's Bouhanni's terrain? He already won chez moi, in my region, so that's no problem."
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