Matteo Tosatto and Eros Capecchi allege that they saw Milan-San Remo winner Arnaud Démare hanging on to team car up the Cipressa climb
- Démare deinies any wrongdoing
- Démare's Strava file from race shows he ascended Cipressa faster than everyone else who uploaded files

Two riders have separately alleged that Milan-San Remo winner Arnaud Démare took a tow from an FDJ team car up the Cipressa climb during Saturday’s race.

In a report published by Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, Matteo Tosatto (Tinkoff) and Eros Capecchi (Astana) both allege that Démare came past them on the Cipressa climb, appearing to either be holding on to the car or a bottle being held out of its window.

According to Gazzetta, president of the race jury Hervé Brocque has been made aware of the allegations, but no photographic or video evidence has been produced to confirm them.

Démare told French paper L’Equipe that he had done nothing wrong, saying: “There are referees in cycling. If I had done something forbidden, I would have been disqualified.”

A crash in the 2016 Milan-San Remo

Many riders, including Arnaud Démare, were caught up in a crash before the Cipressa climb

Démare was one of a number of riders caught up in a crash just before the Cipressa, which appears around 20km before the finish line. Several riders were forced to chase back up to the peloton, including Démare, Michael Matthews (Orica-GreenEdge) and Peter Kennaugh (Sky).

Démare has uploaded his winning Milan-San Remo ride to his Strava account, which shows that he ascended the Cipressa at a quick pace, taking the Strava KOM for the segment.

It shows that Démare rode the climb quicker than everyone else who uploaded files from the race, including those in the peloton. This is not evidence of any wrongdoing.

Démare’s stats on the Poggio climb just before the finish also put him in the top 10 Strava times for this ascent.

If the allegations are found to have any foundation, getting a tow from a team car is an offence that carries a stiff penalty, as Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) found out during the 2015 Vuelta a España. The Italian hung on to the team car on stage two as he tried to ride back up to the peloton after a crash, and was captured by television cameras doing so. He was subsequently disqualified from the race.

  • Poptart242

    I have to agree. But then there are alliances everywhere in the peloton, everyone has a reason to say something these days. There was chat that it originated via the Cofidis camp too, which would be completely unsurprising.

  • bradwagon

    Yes, was not referring to this years peleton, just giving some context to Greipels strava data from last year (if I recall correctly). Very possible for Demare to catch on to steady paced peleton with help… just concerning that multiple witnesses don’t think the help was entirely legal.

  • Poptart242

    The peloton wasn’t charging at all though, the teams were spread all over the road with Katusha etc keeping the pace pretty steady. Was the same on both the Poggio and the Cipressa, quite disappointing to watch. A chasing Demare with teammates dropping back to pace him doesn’t seem out of the ordinary, it’s not exactly an Alp.

  • Zobspeed

    Power data & cadence would show if he backed off the pedals when hanging on. Team should give up file if he’s wants to be cleared.

  • bradwagon

    One thing to keep in mind is that last years peleton was being driven up to that climb by team sky and there were many attacks on the climb that the peleton wasn’t letting go, if I recall correctly. As a result of his hard effort to stay with the peleton on the climb Greipel was rewarded with finishing in a chase group 23″ back of the lead sprinters. Demare riding significantly faster than a charging peleton on his own after a crash is suspicious…

    Agreed that strava data shouldn’t be critiqued to closely though. Most damning to me is that two riders off the back with no motive or incentive to lie about such a thing both claim to have seen it.

  • briantrousers

    I think reading anything into those Strava figures is a huge mistake which was the point I was trying to make but obviously not managing it.

    It’s OK for Greipel and Ciolek to be in the same ball park as Kwiatkowski but Demare and Visconti must be cheating?!!

    Not defending Demare obvs if the old sticky bottle was in play but these times aren’t conclusive evidence on their own. Unless someone can come up with video evidence, that’s that.

  • dourscot

    Was sceptical until those Strava figures appeared. This looks bad for MSR surely.

    Taking a short tow after a crash to meet the time cut is one thing. Using it to win a monument is another.

  • dourscot

    He’s also a decent climber over short hills – perfectly within what would be expected. He’s also a full 17 seconds slower than Demare, a huge gap at this level on that hill.

  • briantrousers

    Isn’t it more suspicious that Greipel’s in 6th? He’s a big old unit.