September 7/12 17:54 pm - Grands Prix Cyclistes Quebec City: report
Posted by Editoress on 09/7/12
Australian national road champion Simon GerransOrica-GreenEdge) took a convincing win at the Canadian Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec on Friday, following a late attack on the last lap of the WorldTour race. Gerrans outkicked Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) for the win, with Rui Costa (Movistar) taking third. Team Canada's Bruno Langlois won the King of the Mountain award, while Francois Parisien (SpiderTech p/b C10) finished tenth, four seconds behind the leaders.
"It's fantastic to win today," said Gerrans. "This is some of the hardest racing on the calendar. It's fantastic racing in Québec on an exciting circuit with great crowds and great ambience."
Early attacks led to an eight-rider break that gained over six minutes before it was caught with two laps left to race in the 201.5 kilometre, 16 lap race. After an early break of 12 was caught, Thomas Rohregger (RadioShack) and Vladimir Gusev (Katusha) went on lap five. They were quickly joined by Danilo Wyss (BMC), Thomas Leezer (Rabobank) and Lucas Euser (Spidertech) and later by Sandy Casar (FDJ), Hugo Houle (Spidertech) and Marsh Cooper (Canada).
When the gap reached six minutes, the peloton reacted, and pulled the group back to just over three minutes with six laps to go, led by Europcar and Garmin Sharp. At this point, the break began to shed riders, with Casar the first to go, and was caught with 32 kilometres remaining.
Relentless counter-attacks followed, with Cris-Anke Sorensen (Saxo Bank - Tinkoff Bank) and Team Canada’s Bruno Langlois getting clear. The pair stayed away until caught four kilometres from the line on the last ascent of the Cote de la Montagne, when Van Avermaet made his move, followed by Gerrans.
Pre-race favourite Peter Sagan (Liquigas) looked like he was about to bridge the gap in the last kilometre, but faded, leaving the Australian and the Belgian battle it out for final victory.
Inside the final kilometre, Gerrans and Van Avermaet had a small gap on Sagan and the chasing field. Around the final corner, Gerrans led Van Avermaet towards the line, with Van Avermaet starting the sprint. Gerrans came around him with enough time to celebrate his victory in Old Québec. Costa led in a small chase group, four seconds in arrears.
"It was pretty exciting. I certainly stayed quiet for most of the race and gave it everything in the last five kilometres. We held the peloton off so I’m obviously very happy. It’s fantastic. It’s one of the hardest races in the calendar”, said Gerrans, who cited the Montreal Grand Prix on Sunday and the world championships in Valkenburg as his next goals in a long successful season.
"This circuit is a tough little circuit," Gerrans noted. "There are a lot of corners. It's always going up and down. We started out especially fast today and made the race quite difficult. There were a lot of tired guys at the finish."
"We just managed to hold them off," said Gerrans. "I'm happy to have pulled off the win. It's a great feeling to be riding strong at the end of the season."