• Arnaud Demare celebrates the win in Stage 18 of the Tour (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Arnaud Démare provided an effective riposte to his Twitter critics, which included departed sprinter André Greipel (Lotto Soudal).
Cycling Central

27 Jul 2018 - 7:50 AM  UPDATED 27 Jul 2018 - 12:08 PM

Démare (Groupama-FDJ) struggled throughout the mountainous stages of the 2018 Tour de France, often dropping well behind the peloton, even further back than the traditional sprinters' grupetto on some stages.

Nonetheless, on each occasion the Frenchman managed to make the time cutoff, the point which riders finishing after may be eliminated. 

Arnaud Démare wins Tour sprint in Pau
A hot flat stage designed to break up the last week of Tour de France climbing ended in the expected sprint finish with Arnaud Démare taking the win.

Greipel fanned the flames of internet outrage by tweeting after Stage 17's mountain stage to Col du Portet.

"Maybe someone should tell @GroupamaFDJ and @ArnaudDemare that there is GPS tracking in @LeTour. Chapeau to lose just 9min on a 17km climb on Quintana #notforthefirsttime," wrote Greipel.

This came after a tweet from the big German sprinter subsequent to him abandoning the race on Stage 12, where he decried the use of illicit tactics by lesser climbers in general to stay in the race. 

“Others might choose to hold on to the team car, but if I can’t arrive at the finish on my own, I rather go home. I’m not sad; I’m a realist and a fair sportsman.”

Démare tweeted back in the Twitter war of words, which prompted a retraction from Greipel.

Greipel has since deleted both of his original Tweets from his Twitter profile and posted a contrite statement to his French rival.

Demare used the incident as motivation for his victory in Pau, where he sprinted clear of Christophe Laporte (Cofidis) and Alexander Kristoff (UAE Team Emirates).

WATCH: Demare hits back at Greipel after stage win

“I was hurt by his comments, I was affected by that,” said Démare. “I sometimes regret that my performances are put in doubt. It’s true I’m not the best rider in the mountains, but I’ve worked a lot to improve my climbing, so the best answer I could give to André Greipel was to win today.”

Démare also had similar comments directed at him after his 2016 Milan-San Remo victory. He had been affected by a crash just before the crucial ascent of the Cipressa. While Michael Matthews and others impacted by the crash didn't even make it back to the peloton, Demare made it back then won the bunch sprint finish.

Riders said he held on to the cars as they raced over the Cipressa to get back on the peloton, hence the reason Greipel included the hashtag #notforthefirsttime.

The next chance for the sprinters comes in the traditional finale to the Tour de France on the Champs Elysees.