After coming in second place to massive German turbo Marcel Kittel in stage 2 of the Giro d’Italia, Arnaud Demare made a fool of himself.
The Francaise Des Jeux sprinter, and breakthrough winner of this season’s Milan San Remo, said that Kittel was beatable. And that’s true, Kittel is a flash and blood human being and if he’s having a miserable day and you’re having an awesome one and you’re approaching the finish-line of a grand tour sprint then yeah, sure, he’s beatable. Maybe, once in a hundred, lottery-ticket possible.
Still, we laugh, we shake our head, we shrug our shoulders in that Gallic farmer way and say Monsieur Demare, that’s big talk for a second tier sprinter at best.
We don’t have a photographic memory or an exact rundown on Demare’s palmares as fast guy in pro cycling. Has he ever beaten mark Cavendish? Has he ever beaten Andre Greipel? Has he taken out a win in a sprint, head to head, with Peter Sagan? Has he beaten anyone of note on any occasion?
Seriously, what has this guy done, what are his results, what triumph can he name, that would realistically allow him to state and have us to accept with any measure of believability, that he can beat Marcel Kittel?
Because right now we’d wager our entire fortune that he isn’t beating Kittel any time soon, not in this Giro and maybe never — unless the German insists on sprinting when he’s 40 and down to his last fast-twitch.
Fact is, Demare knows he blew the best chance he’ll have in a long time to beat Kittel. His FDJ team set him up in the absolute perfect position but he still couldn’t handle things when Kittel decided to pump up the volume on the wattage.
Confidence is all well and good and so we’re happy to acknowledge that Demare seems to believe in his abilities at the highest level. Two thumbs up on that one mon vieux, but we’re not putting any bets down on you beating Kittel.
Reminds me of a quote from the lead character in Denis Johnson’s book Fiskadoro: “No way, not never, fishface boy.”