GPC Que­bec and Mon­treal

Top Pros Do Bat­tle in Canada

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by Jack Cracker

Reign­ing road world cham­pion Peter Sagan (SVK, Team Tinkoff) won the sev­enth an­nual 16-lap, 201.6km Grand Prix Cy­cliste de Québec over Olympic cham­pion Greg van Aver­maet (BEL, BMC Rac­ing Team), with An­thony Roux (FRA, FDJ) in third.

Team Canada's Guil­laume Boivin, a for­mer Na­tional road cham­pion who races for the Cy­cling Academy, was the top Cana­dian fin­isher in 17th at his first race back af­ter suf­fer­ing a bro­ken shoul­der in June and then re­quir­ing 13 stitches to his knee fol­low­ing a train­ing ac­ci­dent.

Boivin's team­mate Ni­co­las Mas­bourian was also prom­i­nent in Que­bec City, as he and Jan Barta (CZE, Bora-Ar­gon 18) bridged to an early break of six rid­ers who stayed away for most of the race. Mas­bourian bat­tled with Twan Castelijns (NED, Team Lotto NL-Jumbo) for King of the Moun­tain (KOM) points as the break gained more than four min­utes.

With ap­prox­i­mately 60 kilo­me­tres to go, Lars Bak (DEN, Lotto Soudal) at­tacked the break and it splin­tered as the rem­nants were caught. Bak was reeled in by Ju­lian Alaphilippe (FRA, Etixx Quick-Step) and Luke Rowe (GBR, Team Sky) with 40 kilo­me­tres to go, while be­hind, the pelo­ton split in sev­eral groups, but the trio was caught.

Matej Mo­horic (SLO, Lam­pre-Merida) and Paul Voss (GER, Bora-Ar­gon 18) tried their luck in vain as the fin­ish line beck­oned. With two kilo­me­tres to go, Alaphilippe went again, aided by team­mate Mat­teo Trentin and Gianni Moscon (ITA, Team Sky), who went on to win the KOM clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

But the three were also tamed as last year's win­ner Rigob­erto Uran (Can­non­dale-Dra­pac Pro Cy­cling Team) at­tacked in a last-gasp attempt to re­tain his title. The Colom­bian was 100 me­tres short of be­com­ing the first man to keep his Que­bec crown as Sagan surged to the front in the fi­nal 50 me­tres to beat Van Aver­maet. Boivin fin­ished in a small group at five sec­onds back.

“I'm sur­prised be­cause I didn't re­ally pre­pare for the­ses races. Af­ter the Tour de France, I trained for the moun­tain bike in Rio and then I was sick,” said Sagan. “I'm very happy to win be­cause I didn't feel very good and had cramps to­wards the end. It's too early to talk about Mon­treal – we'll take some rest to­mor­row and then we'll see.”

“This race is one of the hard­est races in the sea­son,” said Boivin. “I had a pretty good 10 days of train­ing [af­ter his crash], and I thought I felt not too bad. But train­ing and rac­ing are dif­fer­ent beasts, so it is hard to know how your form is. With four laps to go, I was feel­ing pretty good, and just to be here was a bit of a mir­a­cle, so I'm def­i­nitely happy with the re­sult. Hope­fully, I can build on that for Road World Cham­pi­onships in mid-Oc­to­ber.”

GP Cy­cliste de Mon­tréal

Bel­gium's Van Aver­maet (BEL, BMC Rac­ing Team) got his re­venge at the 205.7km Grand Prix Cy­cliste de Mon­tréal as he out­ma­noeu­vred the rest of the favourites to power his way to an em­phatic vic­tory. Sagan (SVK, Team Tinkoff) had to be con­tent with sec­ond place ahead of Diego Ulissi (ITA, Lam­pre Merida).

Team Canada's Ben Perry gave lo­cal fans some­thing to cheer about, win­ning the KOM com­pe­ti­tion as he and his Silber team­mate Mat­teo Dal-Cin were mem­bers of a six-rider break­away that formed in the first few kilo­me­tres and stayed away for most of the race.

“It was a re­ally long time off the front,” said Perry. “A guy from Bora-Ar-

gon 18 went and I fol­lowed him, and then Mat­teo caught us and even­tu­ally there were six of us. Kevin [Field], our di­rec­tor, thought it was more re­al­is­tic for us to play our cards in the long-shot odds of a break­away, and also go for the KOM. Mat­teo rode like an absolute tank the whole day, keep­ing me safe, so it's due to him that I made it. I haven't done many races over 200km, and I'm happy that I could do it on such a hilly race – for me that means a lot.”

With 165 starters, a youth­ful break of six un­der-25 rid­ers soon got away. The pelo­ton was con­tent to let them go and their lead grew steadily to reach six min­utes af­ter 40 kilo­me­tres. Sagan's Team Tinkoff team­mates seized the reins, main­tain­ing the gap at ap­prox­i­mately 5:30. The pelo­ton raised the tempo dur­ing the last five laps as the break started to splin­ter.

As at­tacks be­gan from the chas­ing group, the gap be­gan com­ing down fast as rem­nants of the break were caught and all were to­gether with two laps re­main­ing in the 17-lap event.

The big bat­tle started on the fi­nal as­cent of Cam­i­lien-Houde when Ry­der Hes­jedal (CAN, Trek-Se­gafredo), Ro­main Bardet (FRA, AG2R La Mon­di­ale) and Rui Costa (POR, Lam­pre-Merida) at­tacked in turn. Costa, the 2011 win­ner, caught his ri­vals off-guard and led on his own for the last five kilo­me­tres before be­ing reeled in shortly af­ter the flamme rouge.

Al­berto Bet­tiol (ITA, Can­non­dale-Dra­pac Pro­cy­cling Team) tried to launch the sprint from afar, but Van Aver­maet ma­noeu­vred bet­ter and pow­ered his way to an aptly de­served vic­tory for the Olympic cham­pion af­ter three pre­vi­ous podi­ums in Canada.

“I came here many times and I had not man­aged to win yet, so I'm very happy I've done it. It's been an in­cred­i­ble year. I hope I can con­tinue like this and win races like Flan­ders or Paris-Roubaix,” said Van Aver­maet.

Top Cana­dian Hes­jedal fin­ished 19th in his last race in Canada, as he re­tires at the end of this sea­son. “I re­ally wanted to fin­ish well, and with my Trek-Se­gafredo team­mates, we tried to toughen the race on the last lap. I'm the best Cana­dian to­day, and it's not so bad. Thanks to @GPCQM and ev­ery­one on the road,” tweeted Hes­jedal.

(op­po­site top) Guil­laume Boivin was the top Cana­dian in Que­bec City.

(op­po­site) Reign­ing world road champ Peter Sagan (SVK) wins in Que­bec City.

(top left) Canada's Ben Perry won the King of the Moun­tain com­pe­ti­tion in Mon­treal.

(top right) Ry­der Hes­jedal fin­ished his last race in Canada, as he re­tires at the end of this sea­son.

(above) Bel­gium's Van Aver­maet

(BMC Rac­ing Team) claimed vic­tory in Mon­treal.

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