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ARNAUD DEMARE: THE GIRO IS A CELEBRATION IN EVERY TOWN AND VILLAGE

In May the Italian roads turn pink; it is the month of the Giro and perhaps we all naturally think about this celebration now with nostalgia. To keep our good habits, we asked a few protagonists of this race to tell us some special stories.

Arnaud Démare
He is 28 years old and he made his debut among the pro riders in 2012 on FDJ. In 2016 he conquered Milan-Sanremo, and he was the French national champion in 2014 and 2017. Last year, he won the tenth stage of the Giro d’Italia with the finish in Modena. Currently he races with the Groupama-FDJ team.

ArnaudDemareUAE2020

The Giro d’Italia is an extraordinary race with a public made of real experts who are in love with cycling. When the peloton races through, every town and village is celebrating and people are always joyful. My first memory dates back to 2012. I was a neo-pro and it was my first grand tour. If I think back to then, it seems incredible: I was just discovering the trade, and now I’m hunting sprint victories. And in 2019, I was able to compete for the maglia ciclamino! In the last edition, I secured the Modena stage win. It was an awesome day: I believed in it so strongly. I had chased a victory stage after stage, but I always ended up finishing in fifth, third, then second and second again. It was torture! 

Then, finally the right day arrived. When you don’t stop fighting, it always arrives.
The team was at its best on that stage and was very motivated. To have good synergy is essential, and we can count on somebody like Jacopo (Guarnieri), my dependable “pilot fish.” He is a very experienced man and, in my eyes, a typical representative of Italy. He’s accustomed to speaking his mind, for better and for worse. Tactically, he is very good at leading out the train along with Ramon (Sinkeldam) and at managing the sprint. We trust him one hundred percent. He’s also always present, both in the last five hundred metres of a sprint stage, when it’s a question of opening a path for me, and in the gruppetto on other stages to enable us to stay within the time limit and spare energy.

ArnaudDemare

When I think about the grand tours, there are always conflicting sensations mixing together. Certainly, three weeks are very long for a sprinter: there is the stress for the mountain stages and the feeling that you must be at the top of your game in the sprints. When you go to the sign-on in the morning of a stage you have circled on your calendar, you know perfectly well that you cannot waste a single bullet. Then, there is also the luck component that concerns everyone: in 2016, I got sick and had to go home on the fourteenth day. Anything can happen!

The situation we are experiencing now has also come totally unexpectedly, nobody can say what the future will hold for us. Last winter, I focused so much on my preparation and now I have to keep on doing it in the best possible way to be in the right condition when we resume racing. The first two training sessions after the lockdown have been hard. There’s a lot of work to do, but that doesn’t scare me. In cycling that’s how it is – you know there can be a thousand dark days and then suddenly the sun pops out. Sometimes it’s enough to want it, sometimes it’s enough just to be ready.


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