Démare wins French national championships

Arnaud Demare (Groupama-FDJ) claimed the third national road race title of his career on Sunday, delivering on his favourite status at the French Championships but not in the way many expected.

Groupama-FDJ looked to control proceedings with no fewer than 17 riders in their squad, but it was left to Demare alone in the finale as Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep) attacked on the undulating circuit's steepest incline with 4km to go. By that point his teammate Florian Senechal had already created a selection of nine riders, from which only Demare and Coquard could stay in contention with Alaphilippe.

The pair of sprinters chased him down and a three-up sprint ensued. Demare, who had won Milano-Torino and the Tour de Wallonie since the season re-start, showcased his form and confidence by first closing down another late Alaphilippe acceleration before leading out the sprint and holding off Coquard for a convincing victory.

Alaphilippe, who'd looked to anticipate with a long sprint, had to settle for the bronze medal.

"It's the most beautiful of the three," said Demare, who won the title in 2017 and 2014. "From a collective and individual perspective, it's the most beautiful.

"Senechal did a huge turn and even before Julian attacked there were guys everywhere. I knew it was going to be hard there and my teammate Anthony Roux had said 'if Julian attacks, you follow'. In the finale it was strange. It's not that I don't like situations like that – I'm just not used to them. With Bryan there, an excellent track rider with his turn of speed, into a headwind, I was worried, but in the end I had legs way above my expectations, and I launched my sprint and held on."

It was a thrilling climax to a chaotic race that never really settled down over the 13 laps of the gently rolling 18.3-kilometre circuit in Brittany. AG2R La Mondiale and Total Direct Energie consistently looked to apply pressure to Demare's troops, who seemed happy not to place any of their riders in the moves and instead try and control the race from behind.

They dealt with a number of breakaway attempts to bring the race back together with 54km and three laps remaining, but then what turned out to be a dangerous move went away. At first there were 10, but after another lap it grew to 16, containing riders from all the other major teams, including Cofidis' Guillame Martin.

They still had 30 seconds in hand as they took the bell, and there was panic in the Groupama-FDJ ranks as the cooperation up front was unwavering. When Senechal and Romain Bardet (AG2R) attacked to bridge across, it looked even more dangerous, but the lead group started attacking each other and Groupama were able to bring things back together with 7km to go.

Nevertheless, they were scrambling once more when Alaphilippe ordered Senechal to light it up on the only sustained incline on the course. That vicious acceleration created a nine-rider selection and the perfect platform for an Alaphilippe attack on the steepest gradients. The puncheur surged clear but Demare reacted quickly and set about hunting Alaphilippe down with Coquard. The pair worked together to bring Alaphilippe back with 1.4km to go and the trio headed towards the finishing staright with a slim lead over a chasing group.

Realising he was up against two pure sprinters, Alaphilippe tried to attack under the flamme rouge, but Demare calmly brought it back, with Coquard glued to the wheel and in the perfect position. Alaphilippe, in a last roll of the dice, looked to sprint from range, but Demare soon opened up and had plenty of power left to not even allow Coquard out of his slipstream.

While it wasn't the mass FDJ lead-out many envisaged, it was nevertheless a big show of strength from one of the peloton's in-form riders, who won't be able to show off his tricolour jersey at this year's Tour de France, given he's down to target the Giro d'Italia instead.

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Full results
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Arnaud Démare (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 5:38:27
2Bryan Coquard (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
3Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-Quickstep
4Clément Venturini (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:05:00
5Anthony Turgis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
6Rudy Molard (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
7Christophe Laporte (Fra) Cofidis
8Valentin Madouas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
9Anthony Roux (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
10Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
11Cyril Barthe (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
12Pierre Rolland (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
13Alexis Gougeard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:00:08
14Guillaume Martin (Fra) Cofidis
15Tony Gallopin (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:00:11
16Jérémy Leveau (Fra) Natura4Ever - Roubaix Lille Métropole 0:00:16
17Romain Cardis (Fra) Total Direct Energie
18Tony Hurel (Fra) St Michel - Auber93
19Charles Planet (Fra) Team Novo Nordisk
20Rémy Rochas (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence
21Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
22Kévin Reza (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
23Stéphane Rossetto (Fra) Cofidis
24Alexis Vuillermoz (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:00:23
25Fabien Doubey (Fra) Circus-Wanty Gobert 0:00:30
26Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:00:58
27Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
28Romain Combaud (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence
29Benjamin Thomas (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:01:15
30Lilian Calmejane (Fra) Total Direct Energie 0:01:17
31Geoffrey Soupe (Fra) Total Direct Energie
32Quentin Pacher (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
33Matis Louvel (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
34Samuel Leroux (Fra) Natura4Ever - Roubaix Lille Métropole
35Emmanuel Morin (Fra) Cofidis
36Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
37Nans Peters (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
38Thibault Ferasse (Fra) Natura4Ever - Roubaix Lille Métropole
39Theo Delacroix (Fra) Circus-Wanty Gobert
40Mathieu Burgaudeau (Fra) Total Direct Energie
41Clément Chevrier (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
42Franck Bonnamour (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
43Anthony Perez (Fra) Cofidis
44Thomas Boudat (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
45Lucas De Rossi (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence
46Laurent Pichon (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
47Dorian Godon (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
48Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis
49Fabien Grellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie
50Maxime Bouet (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
51Clément Russo (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
52Aurélien Paret Peintre (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
53Mikaël Cherel (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
54Julien Antomarchi (Fra) Natura4Ever - Roubaix Lille Métropole
55Flavien Maurelet (Fra) St Michel - Auber93
56Adrien Guillonnet (Fra) St Michel - Auber93
57Alexis Guerin (Fra) Team Vorarlberg Santic 0:02:27
58Julien El Fares (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence
59Julien Bernard (Fra) Trek-Segafredo 0:02:50
60Florian Sénéchal (Fra) Deceuninck - Quick Step
61Alan Riou (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
62Benoît Jarrier (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
63Lorrenzo Manzin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
64Kévin Ledanois (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
65David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
66Olivier Le Gac (Fra) Groupama-FDJ 0:03:01
67Simon Guglielmi (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
68Matthieu Jeannès (Fra) Team Illuminate
69Yoann Paillot (Fra) St Michel - Auber93
70Alexandre Geniez (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:03:14
71Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis
72Pierre-Luc Périchon (Fra) Cofidis
73Eddy Finé (Fra) Cofidis
74Simon Sellier (Fra) Total Direct Energie
75Romain Sicard (Fra) Total Direct Energie
76Adrien Petit (Fra) Total Direct Energie
77Jérôme Cousin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
78Quentin Jauregui (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:04:25
79Cyril Gautier (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept 0:06:08
80Antoine Benoist (Fra) Alpecin-Fenix 0:06:37
81Alexys Brunel (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
82Baptiste Bleier (Fra) St Michel - Auber93 0:08:34
83Adrien Garel (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
84Justin Mottier (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
85Thibault Guernalec (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
86François Bidard (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
87Jordan Levasseur (Fra) Natura4Ever - Roubaix Lille Métropole 0:09:00
88Pierre Latour (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale 0:10:17
89Bruno Armirail (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
90Mathias Le Turnier (Fra) Cofidis
91Maxime Chevalier (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept 0:10:26
92Jonathan Hivert (Fra) Total Direct Energie
93Miguel Martinez (Fra) Amore & Vita - Prodir 0:12:31
DNFMatthieu Ladagnous (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFTheo Nonnez (Fra) Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ
DNFGabriel Muller (Fra) Cambodia Cycling Academy
DNFRudy Barbier (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
DNFPierre Barbier (Fra) Nippo Delko Provence
DNFMarlon Gaillard (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFBaptiste Constantin (Fra) St Michel - Auber93
DNFArnaud Courteille (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNFMaxime Cam (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNFHugo Page (Fra) Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ
DNFPaul Penhoet (Fra) Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ
DNFJoffrey Degeurce (Fra) EuroCyclingTrips - CMI Pro Cycling Team
DNFJulien Duval (Fra) AG2R la Mondiale
DNFFlorian Maitre (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFDonavan Grondin (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFRudy Fiefvez (Fra) EvoPro Racing
DNFLéo Vincent (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFAlexis Renard (Fra) Israel Start-Up Nation
DNFSamy Aurignac (Fra) Cambodia Cycling Academy
DNFGuillaume Soula (Fra) EuroCyclingTrips - CMI Pro Cycling Team
DNFJeremy Bellicaud (Fra) Circus-Wanty Gobert
DNFFlorian Vachon (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFJulien Morice (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNFVictor Lafay (Fra) Cofidis
DNFDamien Gaudin (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFRomain Seigle (Fra) Groupama-FDJ
DNFPierre Idjouadiene (Fra) Natura4Ever - Roubaix Lille Métropole
DNFPascal Bousquet (Fra) Cambodia Cycling Academy
DNFRomain Hardy (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFThomas Peyroton-Dartet (Fra) EuroCyclingTrips - CMI Pro Cycling Team
DNFClément Davy (Fra) Equipe continentale Groupama-FDJ
DNFLouis Louvet (Fra) St Michel - Auber93
DNFValentin Ferron (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFJohan Le Bon (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNFJérémy Lecroq (Fra) B&B Hotels-Vital Concept
DNFRomain Le Roux (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic
DNFJérémy Cabot (Fra) Total Direct Energie
DNFBryan Alaphilippe (Fra) St Michel - Auber93
DNFRemi Capron (Fra) Akros - Excelsior - Thömus

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