MONTRÉAL, Sept. 9, 2018 /CNW/ - Michael Matthews (Team Sunweb) emulated fellow-Australian Simon Gerrans (BMC Racing Team) when he won both races of the 2018 Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal like his compatriot did in 2014. Already winner in Québec City on Friday, "Bling" had kept enough strength to upstage Italian Sonny Colbrelli (Bahrain-Merida) on the finish line and make it two in succession. Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team), second in Québec City two days ago, had to be content with third place, his seventh podium in the Canadian WorldTour races. The peloton finished packed in the finale after a succession of attempts were reeled in the last two of the 16 laps of the 195.2-km race.
The start was given at 11:00 by UCI president David Lappartient to 143 riders for 16 laps of 12.2 km and a total of 195.2 km. It took a lap to see a five-man group emerge, comprising Canadians Hugo Houle (Astana Pro Team), Adam Roberge (Team Canada), Nigel Ellsay (Rally Cycling Team), and Charles-Etienne Chretien (Team Canada) as well as Briton Owain Doull (Team Sky). The peloton let them go and their lead reached five minutes at the end of the fourth lap to top at 5:45 shortly afterwards.
Along the way, Adam Roberge was the man in charge of collecting KOM points for Team Canada. Into the 12th lap, Charles-Etienne Chretien, the youngest rider in the peloton, was dropped by his fellow escapees as the gap between the break and the pack had gone down to four minutes. With three laps remaining, the peloton, led by Lotto-Soudal riders, had brought the gap down to 2:00.
With 35 km to go, as Hugo Houle was struggling to stay with the break, 2015 winner Tim Wellens (Lotto Soudal) launched a first attempt and was quickly followed by Slovenia's Matej Mohoric (Bahrain-Merida), who went on to chase on his own. He was quickly joined by fellow-Slovenian Jan Polanc (UAE Team Emirates) and later by Austria's Gregor Muehlberger (Bora-Hansgrohe). The three took a 20 seconds lead into the last lap. In the final ascent of Camillien-Houde, the three were caught by James Knox (Quick-Step Floors) and by 2015 winner Tim Wellens. The trio were later joined by Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) but they were run down with 6 km to go by Enrico Gasparotto and Sonny Colbrelli, both from Team Bahrain Merida. France's Benoit Cosnefroy launched a brave attempt in the finale but was run down under the red flame as the sprint went underway. Dane Michael Valgren (Astana Pro Team) was the first in action but was overtaken by Sonny Colbreli, who looked the most solid of the lot. But Michael Matthews seemed to have an extra gear as he passed him in the final stretch to avenge a disappointing season with a second victory in Canada.
Guillaume Boivin, helped by his Israel Cycling Academy team-mates, was in the leading group in the finale and finished 19th and best Canadian, like he was in Québec City on Friday.
Michael Matthews: "I still can't really believe it myself. When I saw what Simon Gerrans did in 2014 I was at the Vuelta and it was something special for Cycling Australia to see an Ozzie achieve what Simon achieved in these races. It was a massive goal for me also to achieve. He had so many great wins, I always looked up to him. It was great to have him here in the race to witness what I did. It's also very special because I think it was his last WorldTour race today. It's pretty sad that he won't be in the peloton next season. Sonny was very strong, he rode a very good race. I was suffering on the climb and Sonny was going over easily. I was a bit scared because he is a super fast sprinter. But the team did a great job to keep the bunch together for a bunch sprint. I'm just super happy I could finish for them today."
Sonny Colbrelii: "I really gave it my all and I'm really sorry to have lost in the last 20 metres because my team did an incredible work. I also wanted to be in contention in Québec City, but I was jet-lagged and tactically it was a bad day. Gasparotto, Mohorci, Pozzovivo did a hell of a job for me and I thank them very much. These are races that really suit me and I hope to be back"
Greg Van Avermaet: "This is more frustration than satisfaction. I must congratulate Michael, he was the stronger man today."
Guillaume Boivin: "I'm really pleased with my race today. It's probably one of the very bast races of my life."
UCI president David Lappartient: "We're going to discuss with the cycling stakeholders in Madrid on Wednesday. Serge Arsenault's idea of a circuit of one-day races will be part of the document that is going to be discussed. The calendar is an old story and I'm not going to reveal it for now but it is obvious that France, Belgian and Italy will keep the lion's share and that monuments like Roubaix, Flanders, Liege or Milan-San Remo are not in danger. And the two Canadian races will be in it too of course. Cycling must become more international and such a project could help it getting the global audience it deserves."
MICHAEL MATTHEWS FACTFILE
Born September 26, 1990 in Canberra (Australia)
1.80 m - 70 kg
Professionnal in 2009: Team Jayco (09-10), Rabobank (11-12), Orica-GreenEdge (13-16), Team Sunweb (17-19) 37 victoires including 5th and 21st stages of the Spanish Vuelta in 2013, 6th stage of the Giro d'Italia, 3rd stage of the Spanish Vuelta in 2014, 3rd stage of the Giro d'Italia in 2015, 10th stage of the Tour de France in 2016, 14th and 16th stages of the Tour de France in 2017, prologue of the Tour de Romandie, GP de Québec in 2018
Podium places: 2nd GP de Québec, 2nd world championship, 3rd Milan-San Remo, 3rd Amstel Gold Race in 2015 - 3rd Ride London Classic, 4th Bretagne Classic, 4th GP de Montréal, 4th world championship in 2016 - 3rd Prudential RideLondon, 3rd GP de Québec, 3rd world championship, 4th Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2017
This season: 7th Milan-San Remo, 5th Flèche Wallonne, 2nd GP de Francfort, 2nd Binck Bank Tour, 4th Bretagne Classic, 1st GP de Quebec.
ABOUT THE #GPCQM
The Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal, the only two spots on the International Cycling Union (UCI) WorldTour in the Americas, contribute to fulfilling one of the primary objectives of the International Cycling Union (UCI): the globalization of the WorldTour circuit. 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).
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