Ignatas Konovalovas spoke to Cycling Weekly‘s Gregor Brown after his FDJ team-mate Arnaud Démare won Milan-San Remo on Saturday, explaining how the Frenchman positioned himself for a memorable victory.

Konovalovas explained that it wasn’t such a surprise to see the 24-year-old take the victory.

“He already surprised me in Paris-Nice this year [where he won stage one], so the second time, somewhere deep in my heart I had the feeling that maybe he could win,” said Konovalovas.

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The Lithuanian also said that Démare had been involved in a crash five kilometres before the Cipressa climb, and had been paced back up to the peloton by a team-mate.

Konovalovas himself sat at the back of the bunch and then assisted Démare to get back near the front.

Démare was in the ideal position to take the sprint victory when a number of the pre-race favourites were caught by the peloton after the descent of the Poggio.

Démare avoided a crash in the final 500 metres involving Fernando Gaviria (Etixx-QuickStep), and out-paced Ben Swift (Sky) to take the biggest victory of his career.