MONTÉAL, Sept. 11, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) outmaneuvered the rest of the favourites to power his way to an emphatic victory in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on Sunday. The Olympic champion, narrowly beaten by world champion Peter Sagan in Quebec two days ago, took a fine revenge after finishing eight times in the Top 10 of the Canadian World Tour races. Sagan had to be content with second place ahead of Italy's Diego Ulissi (Lampre Merida).
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165 riders started the 7th edition of the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal. Sebastian Henao (Team Sky) and Paris-Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman (Orica-BikeExchange) did not start. Team Lotto Nl-Jumbo riders Mike Teunissen and Moreno Hofland were the first two men to attack from the flag, but were quickly pulled back. The second attempt was a more enduring one. It involved Fabien Grellier (Team Direct Energie), Lukas Pöstlberger (Bora-Argon 18) and Team Canada's Benjamin Perry and Matteo Dal-Cin. The four were later joined by Sean De Bie (Lotto Soudal) and Jasha Sütterlin (Movistar Team) for a youthful break with only under-25 riders. The peloton was content to let the six go ahead and their lead grew steadily to reach six minutes after 40 km. From then on, Peter Sagan's Team Tinkoff team-mates seized the reins, maintaining the gap at around 5:30. The peloton raised the tempo in the last five laps as Sütterlin was dropped by his breakaway companions. De Bie was next to lose touch with the lead as teams Lampre-Merida and Team Sky took turns at the front of the bunch to reduce the gap.
Geraint Thomas (Team Sky) shook the peloton with four laps to go, taking in his wake 25 other riders: Stuyven, Gautier, Rosa, Offredo, Petilli, Impey, Nieve, Preidler, Oomen, Pedrero, Mori, Juul-Jensen, Ulissi, Fuglsang, Oliveira, Vermeulen, Cardoso, De Plus, Caruso, Schaer and Ligthart. But the group was reeled in shortly before an overall regrouping as Grellier, Perry and Pöstlberger were caught with 23 km to go. Another group then attempted to break clear, notably including local favorite Hugo Houle and his team-mate Cyril Gautier, the most active of the lot with 2010 Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec winner Thomas Voeckler. But the peloton regrouped again into the last lap.
The big battle started on the last ascent of Camilien-Houde when Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo), Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and Rui Costa (Lampre-Merida) attacked in turn. Costa, the 2011 winner, took his rivals of their guard and led on his own for the last five kilometers before being reeled in shortly after the red flame. Alberto Bettiol (Cannondale-Drapac Procycling Team) tried to launch the sprint from afar but Greg an Avermaet maneuvered better and powered his way to an amply deserved victory for the Olympic champion after three previous podiums in Canada. Winner in Quebec on Friday, Peter Sagan made his effort a little bit too late and had to be content with second place ahead of Diego Ulissi and Australia's Michael Matthews (Orica-BikeExchange).
Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team, winner): "I came here many times and I had not managed to win yet. I'm very happy I've done it. We worked very hard with Alaphilippe and Vakoc in the finale to try and catch Rui Costa and I'm glad we made it so that I had could have my chance to go for the win. It's been an incredible year. For many years I was the guy who didn't quite make it and now I've won all those great races. I hope I can continue like this and win races like Flanders or Paris-Roubaix. It's sure that Peter and I have responsibilities as the world champion and Olympic champion and I'm sure we will continue to do our best in the years to come."
Peter Sagan (Team Tinkoff, 2nd): "I'm happy. First in Quebec and second in Montreal is not bad. What happened? I was just tired. I had cramps in the final sprint and I could not sprint better so I'm content with my second place. I cannot think about the world championships yet. It's too far away.3
Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida, 3rd): "I was working hard for Rui Costa all day and it worked pretty well as he broke away in the last five kilometers. But when I saw he was caught, I tried my chance and it turned out the way you saw."
Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo, best Canadian): "I'm the one who launched the big battle on Camillien-Houde today. Unfortunately, it didn't work but when you see the riders here on the podium, there was not much we could do. I really wanted to finish well in this race I like and with my Trek-Segafredo team-mates, we tried to toughen the race in the last lap. I won't say I was expecting more. I'm the best Canadian today and it's not so bad."
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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