Michael Matthews makes it back-to-back wins at Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec with dominant sprint victory
Matthews edged out Peter Sagan and Greg Van Avermaet on the line to win to do the double in Quebec
The team were in action today at GP Québec for the first of two races in Canada. Faced with the traditional rolling circuit, accumulating over 2400 metres of elevation gain throughout the 200 kilometre route, it would be a testing day in the saddle.
A break of six managed to escape early into the day and quickly built up a lead of over seven minutes. The team came to the front of the bunch and started to set tempo, along with a few other squads, looking after the interests of defending champion Michael Matthews.
After some good teamwork and pace setting throughout the afternoon, the race was all back together with 25 kilometres and two laps to go. The speed in the bunch only increased as the peloton charged towards the line, with Marc Hirschi and Jai Hindley riding strongly at the front to close down numerous attacks.
On the last lap the pace remained high, with the peloton strung out as they approached the closing kilometres. A dangerous group broke clear of the bunch over the top of the penultimate climb but the race would come back together inside the last kilometre.
“I’m still speechless,” beamed Matthews at the finish. “To do the double here in Québec after an amazing race from the whole team; it’s just incredible. The guys worked hard for me all day so I just dug deep at the end for them and I’m happy I could finish it off. I have no words but to thank my team, my wife and my coaches for all the support.”
© BORA - hansgrohe / Bettiniphoto
Peter Sagan (Bora hansgrohe) joined Van Avermaet and Alaphilippe in what was a dangerous move but ultimately, the bunch made the catch with 500 meters to go, which allowed Matthews to launch his sprint and edge Sagan and Van Avermaet out of the win. Matthews bided his time well, waiting for the perfect moment to launch what was a devastating kick to the line on his Cervélo S5, winning his second GP Québec title in a dominant manner.
Van Avermaet’s third place in Quebec is another confirmation of his strong late-season form, following on from second place at Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian, “I feel satisfaction after today’s race. This has always been a hard race and I was quite happy with how it went. We had to go deep with the attacks from Alaphilippe and after that, I was a bit worried for my sprint because if you go deep a few times that far from the finish, you lose a little bit of strength for the sprint. I had to go when Alaphilippe went so I think I made good decisions today and although it’s not a win, it’s always good to finish on the podium. I think my condition is there and to follow those guys on a parcours like this is almost the most important.”
Peter Sagan said afterwards, "The team worked very well today, they kept the race under control, kept me safe and in a good position in the last kilometres. Alaphilippe attacked with about 2km to go, I reacted and we were four or five riders to build a gap in the front. I was there with Alaphilippe, Van Avermaet and Ulissi but the bunch caught us in the final straight. I kicked in when the sprint started but I didn't have enough space to take the win. I felt well today and we'll see what will happen on Sunday, although the race in Montreal is harder."
2019 Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec Top 10
1 Michael Matthews (Aus) Team Sunweb 5:13:01
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Bora-Hansgrohe
3 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) CCC Team
4 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Uae Team Emirates
5 Jasper Stuyven (Bel) Trek-Segafredo
6 Tom-Jelte Slagter (Ned) Team Dimension Data
7 Julian Alaphilippe (Fra) Deceuninck-QuickStep
8 Timo Roosen (Ned) Team Jumbo-Visma
9 Tim Wellens (Bel) Lotto Soudal
10 Benoit Cosnefroy (Fra) Ag2r la Mondiale
© BORA - hansgrohe / Bettiniphoto