By Ryan Dabbs
Arnaud Démare has expressed doubts that not every rider in the peloton is on an equal footing, suggesting that certain teams aren't adhering to the restrictions on products, such as ketones, as stringently as his Groupama-FDJ team.
The 30-year-old raised his concerns after claiming that the standard and intensity of the riding this year was notably higher than in previous ones, but the Frenchman refused to use the word doping.
Démare told Le Parisien: “I wonder about the peloton, but I’m only saying what many people are seeing. Not everyone has the same restrictions on certain products like ketones. I am part of a team that has made commitments, as have others. But the whole peloton is not like us.
“Many riders feel the same way as I do. Coming up against someone stronger than you is always part of the game. But this season, from Paris-Nice onwards, I found that we were riding at a really fast pace. In just one year, things really accelerated.
"I wouldn't say the word doping, but we don't all have the same speed limit."
While Démare secured nine wins throughout 2021, he struggled to reach the heights he achieved in 2020. That year he won 14 races, including four stages at the Giro d'Italia, but this season he has struggled for consistency, and has led him to raise concerns about the rest of the peloton.
His comments also come after retiring 21-year-old rider Ludvig Wacker described the use of pills, such as painkillers, being used in cycling as "grotesque" and "ridiculous."
Démare's team, Groupama-FDJ, is one of 10 WorldTour teams who are currently members of the Movement For Credible Cycling (MPCC), a union created to defend the idea of clean cycling. MPCC prohibits the use of ketones in competition, and member teams are voluntarily tested ahead of each Grand Tour.
Ketones, a legal product, helps to reduce lactic acid production and preserve glycogen, thus improving performance. However, there are concerns on the possible long-term effects of the supplements.
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