A solid day in Flanders has FDJ looking ahead to Paris-Roubaix
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Sunday, March 31, 2013

A solid day in Flanders has FDJ looking ahead to Paris-Roubaix

by Kyle Moore at 11:28 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour of Flanders
Ladagnous nets fifth, Offredo on the attack, Demare confirms he belongs in the Monuments

Arnaud DemareFDJ manager Marc Madiot got the results he was hoping for out of his squad of classics riders at the Ronde van Vlaanderen on Sunday, even if the day didn’t get started as smoothly as he hoped. The solid day that FDJ experienced has the team looking ahead to Paris-Roubaix, and perhaps another day spent on the attack, with a top ten finish as a reward.

Matthieu Ladagnous led the way for FDJ in the Ronde, taking fifth place. Ladagnous was second in the sprint for the minor placings, which Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) won, earning himself fourth place. Yoann Offredo was on the attack twice during the day, caught for a second time on the final ascent of the Oude Kwaremont, and eventually finished 16th. Young sprinter Arnaud Demare [pictured] came home alone behind the first group, in 24th place.

FDJ was one of a few teams to begin the race a man down, as William Bonnet came down sick, according to Madiot.

“Even though we finished well, we had some problems with some of our guys,” Madiot stated. “William Bonnet did not start, suffering from gastroenteritis. Murilo Fischer was not well. Johan Le Bon was the victim of a crash and did not recover.

“However, our leaders were present and going well,” Madiot complimented. “Yoann Offredo attacked on the last circuit to anticipate the later moves, and Matthieu was waiting behind. Arnaud Demare just missed a little bit on the final climb, otherwise he would have been in the group sprinting for fourth – and he would have finished fourth!”

Ladagnous added the fifth place in the Tour of Flanders to the sixth place he picked up last weekend in Gent Wevelgem. The 28-year-old has a string of top ten finishes built up already this season, and will now look ahead to Paris-Roubaix.

“I’m very happy. I’ve known that I would be in good condition for one or two weeks,” Ladagnous explained. “To finish fifth here is really good. But I had to come from a long way back. I broke my front wheel on the Koppenberg. But Mickael Delage was there immediately to help me. I started the Koppenberg in last position, and I finished it far behind. But I got back into the main bunch near the feed zone.

“This is super! My goal was these classics. I finished sixth in Gent Wevelgem, fifth in the Tour of Flanders, and I think I’m in for a really good Paris-Roubaix. Since last year, I’ve known that I’m capable of great things in these races. And I’ve prepared myself for them.” The FDJ rider’s best career finish in Paris-Roubaix was last year, when he took 12th.

Another FDJ man looking to mix it up on the cobbles next week will be Arnaud Demare, who made his professional Flanders debut Sunday, and who will start Paris-Roubaix for the first time next weekend. If Demare had any doubts about his ability to compete in the Monuments at the highest level, they appear to be gone now.

“It was my first Tour of Flanders. I raced in the espoirs version, but it was nothing like this,” Demare stated. “The fans are impressive. It’s a party. On the bike, I had a lot of fun, because my legs were good. And we got a good result with Matthieu.

“I feel that these races suit me. I thought I might be too young, and that I would run out of power, but I lacked nothing, and if the Paterberg had been a few meters shorter, I would have been in the group sprinting for fourth. If I could have gone with this group, I would have had a nice top ten. Now it’s on to Paris-Roubaix. I raced it as a junior, in the espoirs. I know the last 120 kilometres.

“I’m happy to be racing it with the professionals.”


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