QUÉBEC, Sept. 9, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - He had claimed not to be in the best of shapes but it was still good enough for world champion Peter Sagan (Tinkoff) to surge in the last stretch and claim the 2016 Grand Prix Cycliste three years after winning in Montréal. The Slovak powered his way to the front of the peloton to catch title-holder Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale Drapac Pro Cycling Team) and outsprint the rest of the bunch, led by Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) and Frenchman Anthony Roux (FDJ). A World champion ahead of an Olympic champion -- the 7th edition of the Quebec leg of the Canadian WorldTour could hardly dream of a more prestigious podium.
Ireland's Matt Brammeier (Team Dimension Data) surged from the gun to lead a group of six escapees into the 7th Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec. He was rapidly joined by Lars Bak (Lotto Soudal), Maxim Belkov (Team Katusha), Valerio Agnoli (Lampre- Marida), Twan Castelijns (Team Lotto NL-Jumbo), and Alexandre Pichot (FDJ). By the end of the first lap, the six had been joined by Jan Barta (Bora Argon 18) and Team Canada's Nicolas Masbourian while his team-mate Matteo Dal-Cin was unsuccessfully trying to bridge the gap. The peloton gave the break the go-ahead and their lead went over two minutes after 15 km and settled at over four minutes after 30 km. In the leading group, Castelijns and Masbourian battled it out for the first KOM points. The peloton was then content with controlling the break, trimming the gap down to two minutes with five laps and 60 km to go. The tempo raised in the 13th lap, when Lars Back decided to go on his own while Castelijns and Belkov were pulled back by the peloton, followed by the rest of the breakaway group. With 40 km to go, Bak was reined in by Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx Quick Step) and Luke Rowe (Team Sky) as the peloton split in several groups. The Frenchman and the Welshman stayed in the front for less than a lap before being brought back in the last 25 km. While attempts multiplied, Matej Mohoric (Lampre-Merida) tried to go on his own but was also reeled in. More brave attempts came from Germany's Paul Voss (Team Bora Argon 18), who attacked in the last ascent of Cote des Glacis with 12 km to go, and recent Bretagne Classic winner Oliver Naesen (IAM Cycling). In the last two kilometers, Julian Alaphilippe tried his luck again, aided by team-mate Matteo Trentin and Team Sky's Gianni Moscon, who went on to win the KOM classification. The three were also tamed as last year's winner Rigoberto Uran attacked against headwind in a last gasp attempt to retain his title. But the Colombian was 100 metres short of becoming the first man to kept his Quebec crown. The pack was on his heels and Peter Sagan far too strong for the rest of the field. Guillaume Boivin was the best Canadian.
Peter Sagan (Team Tinkoff, winner): "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. There was some headwind in the last stretch and everybody who attacked in the end found it very hard. Rigoberto Uran tried the same as last year but it was different this time. The last three kilometers were very fast and when I saw Rigobert in the front I told myself maybe we're going to sprint for second place. But there was a very fast sprint from Anthony Roux, he started early and pulled a good sprint for me. Thanks to him. My team-mates made a very good work today. I'm very happy to win because I didn't feel very good. I had cramps towards the end. It's too early to talk about Montréal, we had a race today, we'll take some rest tomorrow and then we'll see."
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team, second): "It's true that I didn't know what to expect because I only did one race since the Olympics. Usually, I attack in the last climb but this time I decided to wait for the last sprint. I think it was the right decision but Peter was simply too strong. Montréal is probably not a race that suits me as much because there are longer climbs. It's more for Peter I think. But these races are in any case the perfect preparation for the world championships even if my expectations for the worlds are not so high. The course that suited me was last year's in Richmond when Peter won. This time, it is more for pure sprinters."
Anthony Roux (FDJ, third): "It's very surprising. When I found myself in the last 100 metres, I was wondering what I was doing there. This morning, I was named as the leader of the team for this race. It doesn't happen to me often and I'm glad I was up to the task. I don't think I made a mistake. I decided to start the sprint from afar and see who would come past. I rode Montréal twice and I quit twice. It's a circuit that could suit me if it doesn't rain. It's more of a movement race, it doesn't often finish in a sprint. With the team we're going to approach it the same way."
Guillaume Boivin (Canada's National Team, best-placed Canadian): "I opted for the same strategy as Peter Sagan to try and save strength for the finale. I had a slight problem in the last bump and my feet slid off the pedals. But I fought hard and I'm happy with my race. It's a morale booster to see that with so little training I managed to do well and that the ten days of work I did paid off. I was as serious as I could. I gave it 110 pc and Im' happy with the result. Nobody can be surprised by seeing Peter Sagan win here. I rode to years with him with Cannondale and we have seen very few guys like this in cycling. I was in his team when he won in Montréal. We share great memories together."
ABOUT THE GPCQM
The Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal, the only two spots on the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour in America, contribute to fulfilling one of the primary objectives of the UCI: the globalization of élite cycling. These tour stops are in addition to the existing, officially sanctioned events in Europe and Oceania. Since 2010, the organization has been responsible for the planning and the conduct of the GPCQM and counts on the invaluable support of public and private partners: the Government of Canada, the Gouvernement du Québec, the city of Québec, the city of Montréal, the National Battlefields Commission, Québec City Tourism, Tourisme Montréal, Québecor, Air Transat, and TVA Sports (official GPCQM broadcaster).
ABOUT THE UCI
The International Cycling Union (UCI) is the international federation of cycling, recognized by the International Olympic Committee (ICO). The UCI oversees the worldwide management and promotion of the eight disciplines of cycling.
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